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The aim of this project was to develop agriculture and the rural economy to reduce poverty in remote areas of Saysathan district. Villagers in this district of Prai ethnicity have very few or no assets and their day to day survival depends almost exclusively on labour intensive agricultural activities
The poorest households, mostly comprising widows, elderly and disabled people have very low labour capacity and therefore have greatest difficulty surviving and coping with extreme poverty.
Activities were designed to improve the capacity of villagers to manage livestock, develop a commercial network of local animal service providers, and establish a sustainable source of income for those that cannot work in the fields (most poor and disadvantaged families).
In partnership with local communities, the following activities have been implemented;
Establishment of a goat bank in Samet Noi village to assist 28 target beneficiary families
Improvements to five goat banks in Kor, Houeysalot, Samet Gnai, Phouleurn and Kongthieng villages to assist 109 target beneficiary families
(Photo: Villagers building a goat pen in Samet Noi)
The goat bank in Samet Noi has generated income thanks to the first sale of off spring in June 2011. Fourteen goats were sold for US 556. After deduction of running costs (salt, veterinary treatment etc.), the income generated was US $24 for the management committee, US $146 for the goat raisers and US $316 for the group of beneficiaries (US $11 for each of the 28 beneficiaries).
In Samet Gnai, ten goats were sold for US 400 in June 2011. The income generated was US $17 for the management committee, US $103 for the animal raiser and US $223 for the group of beneficiaries (US $8.90 per beneficiary family).
Other villages also made similar sales in June/July 2011. Sales will take place twice a year in each village.
An average annual income for a family in this district is USD $82 so this additional income is valued.
While ownership of livestock is not a new concept here, livestock businesses are, and they are proving to be very successful in creating income and independence.
According to Mr Yuan, chief of the Samet Noi village, “the goat bank system is good because such a system providing incomes for the poorest did not exist before. The system really targets the poorest of the village, those who can not work”
In Samet Noi, the beneficiaries include:
“Moreover the system provides income for the goat raiser.”
Beneficiaries were also pleased with the first distribution of benefits which took place in June this year. Most of them said they would use their share to buy medicine, salt and other food products.
(Photo: Sharing out income from goat sales, Samet Gnai)
Significant improvements have been made in disease identification, prevention and treatment during the past two years. However mortality rates are still high.
The main challenge for the project will be to further reduce this mortality rate among goat herds. Reduced mortality rates will enable goat banks to generate higher profits for the beneficiaries.
In small, remote villages dotted through the mountains of northern Laos, there are no jobs to apply for and no support for those without an income. The majority of the rural population survives on what they grow, and if they are fortunate enough to have food left over, they can try to sell it. This situation of chronic poverty is the reason CARE is working hard to establish sustainable livelihoods so families can become self-sufficient.
Goat banks will be monitored by CARE at least until February 2012 (as part of the rural development project funded by the Swiss cooperation).
It is expected that further support will be needed in the veterinary field. Supplementary training will therefore be provided to goat raisers and village vets to further develop their capacity to prevent diseases, identify and cure them.
Depending on monitoring outcomes, some improvements may also be made together with villagers on the goat bank systems.
The sale area trialled in two villages this year was successful and may therefore be extended to all villages in which goat raising areas are far away from the village.
An external consultant will be hired to evaluate the activity and report on it. The report will be shared with the Government and international organisations operating in Lao PDR.