Lakhripir is a village of tribal. 87 families reside in the village.
World Vision helped the villagers to start SHG. 13 of the male members hesitantly started the SHG in 2003. They named the SHG as Marsalbati SHG. The group is a homogeneous group. All the members are tribal and fall under BPL category. It cannot be mixed group due to the directive and guideline laid by the Government. Like-minded members are the members of the Self help Group. They maintain fee book, minute register, cashbook, Bank account and passbook, Loan register.
All members have very good inter- relationship. The present leader is running the group efficiently. He is class ten appeared. The meeting is conducted once in a week (Wednesday). If 80% of the members are not present no meeting will be held.
The SHG members say that main purpose of the formation of this SHG is to get away from the clutches of mahajan (Money lender).To decrease the migration is another objective. In the long run we want to see our children well educated for better jobs. (Source FGD with Marsalbati SHG)
To start with in 2005 World Vision (ADP Malda) helped them to plan a project that will help the group as well as engage the entire community in some productive work. World Vision conducted series of PLA exercises with the group as well as the village. It was noted that the village has 87 families where children under 15 are 123 in numbers. The villagers have total 482 bigha (3 bigha = 1 acre) of land out of which 20.5 bigha land has been mortgaged to the moneylender. The land ranges highest 7 bigha and minimum 1 bigha per family. Every family has either cow or bull or goat or pig (all local variety). The animal population was cattle: cow + bull (Local variety): 145 numbers, Pig (Local variety): 61 numbers and Goats: 151. Wealth ranking category poor. (PLA exercise report)
The major source of income is from the agriculture and daily labor. Major chunk of male population migrates to bigger towns every year soon after the harvest. Women work in the field as agriculture labor. Alcoholism is a menace in the village.
Premised on the above scenario and based on the ethnicity of the group it was decided that pig rearing unit would be a better option for the group to start with.
With the help from the vendor World Vision provided good variety of piglets from Nepal (Now it is commonly referred as Nepal variety) in the month of November 2005 costing Rs. 54000.00 (Fifty four thousand). In the beginning the pigs were kept in the open field and dirtied the village a lot. So ADP in 2006 helped them to construct a shed worth 150000.00 (One lakh fifty thousand) plus their contribution of Rs. 50000.00 which they collected from selling of the pigs.
How does the pig rearing unit function?
The group has delegated and scheduled the work among 13 of them. The feed is locally available stocks. Each delegated individual performs his duty religiously.
The pig rearing unit started with 54 piglets out of which 9 were bore pig (Male). 33 of them survived (5 male and 28 female). From this after nine months at an average 5 piglets were born. Till now how many pigs they sold they cannot recall. Each piglet is sold at Rs. 800.00. The pork rate is Rs. 80 per kg in the market.
Seeing the productivity and success of the variety, the villagers destroyed the available local variety and started rearing the Nepal variety. At present each of the families in the village has at least one pig. With the success from this pig rearing unit World Vision encouraged and helped start another 5 pig rearing unit in five different Santhal villages. World Vision bought piglets worth Rs. 80000.00 (Eighty thousand) from Marsalbati Pig rearing unit. The Pig rearing unit at Lakhripir has become a resource center for World Vision.
The success of the pig rearing unit is not limited in Lakhripir. The pig variety has entered in other 5 adjoining Santhal villages. If you walk in any of these villages you can see piglets running in the field. One widow in Padol village bought two female pigs from the unit. In nine months two females gave birth to 20 piglets. When I was in the village I happened to see it myself. The selling price of each piglet (3 month old) is minimum Rs. 800.00. A widow has found her way to livelihood. Similarly, SHG group (female) of Bagdol, Jhalkamari regularly visit this pig rearing unit for first had knowledge on pig rearing. One group from Bihar had come to the unit for the purchase of the pig.
We conducted Focus group discussion with the group member in the month of December first week of 2007. This is what they say:
Main purpose of the formation of this SHG was to get away from the clutches of mahajan (Money lender).To decrease the migration is another objective. In the long run we want to see our children well educated for better jobs. We were very skeptic about starting the pig rearing unit in the beginning because of the fund constraint but due to help from World Vision we could come to this stage. World Vision helped us to link with the bank. Bank (State bank of India) provided us Rs. 40000.00 loan. They invested the money in pig rearing unit. They say they have already refunded the loan to Bank. They proudly say that lending money from mahajan has decreased in the village. The SHG provides smaller loans to the villagers with less interest. They have helped the women group of the village to start women SHG. One of the members said, “We are on one side of the river and to reach the other side World Vision has become our bridge”
At present they have invested their earning in pig rearing unit. They have Rs. 51000.00 in bank. The veterinary officials visit them time and again. The president of the group Mr. Simieon smilingly says,” Demand of piglet is so much that we are not able to supply.”
All the children under 15 attend regular class. The children below 5 years are moderately nourished. Migration has almost stopped. Last year only five families migrated in comparison to 50% in the previous years.
The pig rearing unit has become a boon to the group and an eye opener for the villagers.
Prepared by Jyoti Mukhia