US-funded livestock project boosts rural economy

STAFF REPORT IBD: The USAID Dairy Project has triggered growth in Pakistans rural economy by helping women farmers increase their income and improve their livelihood. Realizing the pivotal role rural women play in the countrys livestock sector, USAID is creating a pool of up to 5,000 locally-trained and readily-available female livestock extension workers to provide veterinary services and advice on the care and feeding of cattle to rural dairy farmers.

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This dairy project, launched in July 2011, selects dynamic rural women with a high school diploma and trains them in basic animal health management techniques and entrepreneurship. The programme has already trained 2,470 unemployed rural women, helping them earn an average of 2,500 rupees per month. It aims to train an additional 2,530 farmers.

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“My husband used to work at a private school, but he had to quit his job because of an illness.  Now he is unemployed.  I was educated through the 12th grade, but I could not find a job,” said Asma, a resident of Toba Tek Singh in Punjab.

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“I availed the USAID project and now I am now working in my village as a livestock extension worker, providing basic animal healthcare services in my village,” she said.

This USAID project has connected us with livestock experts and pharmaceutical companies we didnt know about before.  So far, I have treated around 600 animals and earned 46,000 rupees, Asma revealed.

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