Women-led Cooperative Secures $59,300 to Pioneer Goat Collection Center
Draped in beautiful sarees and looking sharp on their motorbikes, the ladies of Kanepokhari, Morang make their way to the under-construction site of a goat collection center. First of its kind in Province 1, the collection center will not only hold goats but also act as a business center for regional goat and agrientrepreneurs. Heifer's presence in the region has led to increased entrepreneurial spirit and goat production, which drove the need for a collection center. With the ever-increasing market demand, meat goat is a lucrative business for the smallholder farmer community.
“We experienced many limitations to hold goats during the last festive season as we lacked a secure space. With this new facility our troubles are bound to lessen,” the cooperative members said in unison.
Pioneers of the establishment, the members of Digopan Social Entrepreneur's Women's Cooperative will play a lead role in the operation of the collection center and provide much needed business hub services to its members and to the farmers of the adjoining goat pocket areas of Kerabari and Pathari. Excitement and tension run high as a few months remain before the completion of construction. For many of the women this will be the first time they enter and run a business. They will be equipped with an office space, a quarantine area, medical room and proper security. With passing time, the social and economic status of women has taken a rapid turn for the good and opportunities such as this are key in bringing about this change.
“We have the social liability to fulfill the market demands and we cannot take this business lightly if we are to succeed. We have taken support from a lot of institutions and, if need be, we will visit every household to collect marketable goats,” Cooperative Treasurer Fulmaya Rai said.
With a capacity of holding 50 goats on a long-term basis, the collection center has utilized the Catalytic Leverage Funds that Heifer helps to acquire in its project areas. Heifer Nepal provided the much-needed facilitation for proposal development, design preparation and cost estimation of this project along with a monetary support of Rs.4.75 lakh (about $4,500) with which the cooperative could access the government’s fund. The Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperative Development awarded an amount of 50 lakhs (about $48,000) for the construction of the building based on the proposal evaluation, which will lift the entrepreneurial spirit of the women. An additional Rs.7 lakhs (about $6,800) has been committed by the Kanepokhari Rural Municipality as the total construction cost is estimated to be around $60,000.
“The goats can stay in our collection center for a long time as we have planted an ample amount of fodder in the adjacent land to ensure the feed supply,” Cooperative Secretary Uma Rana Magar said.
With most of the households engaged in agricultural activities throughout the year, the establishment of this collection center brings in hope for farmers in the area. Their hope is that the collection center will assist them in finding a market for their agricultural produce and help them earn a living income. They also look forward to the modern abattoir, which is planned in their region. Once the facility becomes operational, the farmers will have a consistent market for their meat goat.