Just a few people in Mkalanga Village believed that goats can be a good source of milk…just like dairy cows, and that the income from goat husbandry can change lives of the poor villagers. Dairy goat husbandry seemed unusual and strange undertaking. Through sensitization and training meetings villagers were convinced that dairy goat husbandry is a feasible undertaking that they wished to try. Mr. Seth Chavala, a resident of Mkalanga Village shared his story below:
Our dairy goat husbandry group is called ‘Mshikamano’, members were selected by the Village Assembly. I am a farmer but I can clearly say that I used to get very little from agricultural activities than it is now with goats. I started keeping goats in 2015 through EAMCEF support, I have an assurance of getting 1.5 Litres daily, out of which I sell one little for TZS. 1,000 and the family consumes the rest. In the past, my family and most people in this village were not able to afford milk as it was obtained somewhere far from here and a bit costly. The income I get from goats is used to cover for household needs, school fees and stationaries etc. Apart from milk, it was not easier to get farm manure than it is now. We were used to industrial fertilizers which destroyed our land, but now I get manure from goat and can grow vegetables. I no longer buy industrial fertilizers”
I sold one goat for TZS. 70,000 and used the money to pay casual labourers to work on my farm, I planted beans and sold the harvest for TZS. 450,000. I used my income from beans to build a bigger house for my family. My old house was too small for family members to fit in. When my goat gave birth (now I have 7 goats) I sold one goat and employed some people to help up plant trees in my one acre farm. I am also getting 3 litres per day, I normally sell two litres and consume the rest. …since then my life has changed a lot, I would rank myself to have moved from level 1 to level 10 – all because of dairy goat husbandry!
I use manure from goats to grow avocado, my trees are so healthy. During 2016, I sold avocados and got TZS. 210,000 from only 3 trees. In the past, I could only harvest a few avocados which were not enough for sale. I used the income to buy a Television set and installed solar panel. Since I installed solar panel, my children can study a couple of more hours during the night than it was before with traditional kerosene oil lamp ‘kibatari’.
It wouldn’t have been possible to afford taking my child to the hospital if it were not for the goats. I don’t have health insurance so I sold one goat, paid hospital charges…happy now my child is fine. I started selling vegetables after seeing that the goats can provide enough manure for my garden. Through income from vegetables I can easily afford household needs. The goats have rescued me from being a beggar and casual labourer.