Such farming has not only brought fortune to the rural poor families but also empowered women.
Mukti Rani Modok, a housewife of Boro Naryanpur village in Shibganj Upazila, Bogra, bears the testimony of such a self-reliant woman who is keen on cattle farming to improve her socioeconomic condition and ensure a better living.
A few years back, it was beyond her imagination that she could ever pin hope on raising a pacca (brick built) house to live in, but it has come true.
Not only that, she now intends to have a firm of 30 cows equipped with modern facilities.
Over the last couple of years, dairy farming especially by the women has brought revolutionary changes to socioeconomic conditions of thousands of poor rural families in the district.
Like Mukti, hundreds of women have been able to educate their kids and enjoy a better living through rearing cows.
CARE-Bangladesh and Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain (SDVC) project worked as a catalyst to have people understand that farming can change their lot.
This project provided technical supports and the know-how of farming for the rural women.
It also monitored the process to ensure more production of milk through proper feeding and treatment.
“My family expenses were being borne by a meager income of my husband, who is a farmer, and who grew different types of corps like other inhabitants in the area,” Mukti, a mother of two, shared her story with the Dhaka Tribune while this correspondent paid a visit to her residence in Shibganj.
Being inspired by the CARE-Bangladesh and other neighbours, she bought a cow for Tk13,000 from her husband’s savings from potato sale.
Mukti has now 12 cows worth over Tk10 lakh and earns about Tk7,000 a week, selling milk. She has already fetched about Tk10 lakh, selling eight cows.
“I will build a new pacca house, when new bricks will be available in the market, but it was far beyond my imagination that I would be able to ever do that.”
Talking on her future plan, she said she wants to establish a daily farm with 30 cows equipped with modern facilities.
Shapla Rani Shaha, another woman of the same village, did the same as Mukti. Shapla has already changed her fate. Her dream to ensure a better living has come in reality.
“Every week I earn Tk13,000. I have 11 cows worth about Tk12 lakh, of which four give 35-litre of milk every day,” Shapla told the Dhaka Tribune while she was milking in the evening.
The woman started farming with two calves worth Tk16,000 taken from her father-in-law. She already bagged Tk6.5 lakh, selling 10 cows.
Primarily, dairy farmers did not get right price for their milk. They just got an average price.
Later, CARE-Bangladesh set a digital machine to fix the milk price based on milk fat, thus facilitating better price for the dairy farmers, Mostafa Nurul Islam Reza, team leader of the project, told the Dhaka Tribune.
The project first started in 2007 with an aim to help marginal farmers increase milk production, improve quality, ensure supply of required raw materials and medicine and give a better price, he added.
Subsequently, the project was extended to December 2016. It also provided training to the farmers to make them knowledgeable.
According to CARE Bangladesh, in nine districts, there are about 52,000 families that alleviated poverty through cattle farming.
About 90% farms are being directly run by the women. These families meet 55% demand for milk of Aarong Dairy, a sister concern of Brac while Pran and Akij Groups also source milk from the same area.
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