Promoting Rural Youth Entrepreneurship through Goat Farming

1Shakti RanjanPanigrahy, 2Archit Kumar Nayak, 3Rambirsingh Pundir

1 Assistant Professor, IABMI, Anand Agricultural University,Anand
2Prject Consultant, Ernst and Young, India
3 Principal & Dean, IABMI, AAU, Anand
Centre for Agricultural Market Intelligence under NAHEP-CAAST Project, Anand Agricultural University, Anand-388110 (Gujarat)

Since the dawn of civilization, goat farming has been the significant source of revenue for landless, small and marginal farmers in India and provides subsistence income support to them. India occupies first position in terms of goat population and milk production. Due to their ability to survive and produce under extreme climatic and managemental condition, goat assures income to rural farmers with almost zero input cost. Goats are among the main meat-producing animals in India, whose meat (chevon) is one of the choicest meats and has huge domestic demand. In India, almost 80 percent of people eat meat, with goat meat, sometimes known as mutton, being the most popular. In addition to producing meat, this animal also provides milk, fibre, and skin. These advantages aided goat farming in establishing a strong demand in the market, and this industry has grown fairly popular among food-based market segment. Due to its good economic prospects, goat rearing under intensive and semi-intensive system for commercial production has been gaining momentum for the past couple of years. The emerging favorable market conditions and easy accessibility towards improved goat technologies are also catching the attention of entrepreneurs. High demand for goat and its products with potential of good economic returns have been driving many progressive farmers, businessmen, professionals, ex-servicemen and educated youths to take up the goat enterprise on a commercial scale.

One such aspirant, keen to make his future and make a mark in the Goatrysector was young aspiring agripreneurAaftabNawabi (21). Born in small Village Delsar, in Dahod district of Gujarat, Aaftabwas fascinated by animals particularly goats since childhood and was a keen hobbyist trying to understand itsbehaviour, growth and breeding. Carrying this interest forward, he chose goat farming as his occupation in the year 2018. Now he is an established progressive farmer of repute and owner of “Royal Nawabi Goat Farm”. His first formal training was a training program on Commercial Goat Farming organized by CIRG, Makhdoom, Mathura (U.P.) for 25 days in the year 2017. Being inspired and motivated by the scientists of CIRG, during 2017-18, he carried out extensive information search both through online channels as well as physical visits to thousands of established goat farms all across India (Uttar-Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Gujarat, Kerela, Telagana etc.) in his search of original species of commercially important goat breeds. During his visits he stayed at the farms for long time to gather meaningful knowledge on scientific housing, feeding, breeding and health care management of goats and also made number of good business networks of goat suppliers as well as customers, that aided him all through his success of entrepreneurial journey. Consequently, after gaining enough experience through his visits, Mr. Aftab started his sojourn in November 2018 where he established a massive a goat farm of around 30,000 sq ft. at Dahod district of Gujarat. The reason behind choosing Dahod was its good connectivity with the neighboring states like Madhya Pradesh which also felicitate abundant availability of feed (wheat, maize, soybean etc) and fodder for the goats at discounted prices, and helped him to reduce the cost of farming and increase the farm income. Initially he purchased 400 male goats of Sojat breed at around Rs.360/kg live body weight from Nimbol city located in Jodhpurdistrict of Rajasthan that is regarded as an origin place of that particular species. For rearing, he chose Sojat breed over other breeds because Sojat breed gain weight rapidly and is among the heaviest goats preferred for meat purpose. This helped in gaining good returns in very less time, mostly just in a few months. He purchased 7-8 months old male sojatgoats and reared under stall-fed intensive system of management for 6-7 months in his farm.In the first year, he sold 340 of them from his farm itself at the time of Id festivalon live body weight basis at the rate of Rs. 450 live body weight earning a profit of Rs 50/ Kg on live body weight. In the first year of rearing operations, he was able to fetch around 15 lakhs as his net return.After his first successful attempt in Goat business, he got motivated to involve more breeds in his farm and purchased 50 impregnated female goats of Patira breed from Ahmedabad.

In addition, he kept scouting for premium goat breeds from across India and even purchased many imported breeds like Hyderabadi, Yemini, Barbari, Jamnapuri, Sirohi, Punjabi etc. Owning to the COVID 19 pandemic situation and supply chain constraints, he sensed an opportunity and purchased  goats of premium breeds at low prices than the normal. With these exclusive range of exotic breeds of goats, he then started breeding practices on his farm using his gained expertise of scientific goat farming and ensured thathe took at least two breeding per year of highly demanded pink Hydpat breed among others. He produced pure line breed of valuable species of Patira and Sojat breed in addition to hybrid breeds of exotic Hyderabadi and local Patira breed. As a consequence, his flock size increased dramatically, and in 2020, he even reached a flock size of 350 females and around 600 kid goats. He made a huge revenue by preparing and selling the kid Goats as well as female pure breed animals as breeding stock to the farmers and entrepreneurs. He cultivates and preserves different type of local and exotic breeds on his farm such as AustraianSanen, Zing, Nasu Hyderabadi, Punjabi beetle, royal nasi, bantan to name a few. Today, he has nearly 27 national and foreign breeds of goat in his farm some nearly worth Rs.1.5 lakh per goat. In the year 2021, the net profit of his farm reached to Rs. 45 lacs.The milestone achieved can be taken as a solid evidence of profitability of goat farming business.

Mr. Aftab has proved that a person irrespective of his age, can achieve unprecedented heights if he follows his interest and works with passion. Regarding Goat farming, he says that, with ‘low cost quality feed, pure line breed, proper scientific knowledge and training, andhealthy market linkages,Goat farming is really economically rewarding.When it comes to feeding, he usedbranded goat specific silage which he procured directly from the from the company dealers in bulk. Also, he used green grasses, cereal grains mixed with eggs, jaggery, vitamin and mineral powder to meet nutritional requirements for better weight gain.He focused on procuring low cost feed from the areas of surplus grain production. This also enabled him to make additional profits by selling the fodder to his customers. With respect to breeding, he focused on pure line of breed fetched directly from the point of its origin. To take good care of his goats, he hired skilled and experienced farm staff directly from the other states like Jodhpur, Rajasthan. From his experience, Mr. Aftab confirms that breeding is the most important process that has to be taken care of. He says if a farmer wants to expand his goat farm he has to make sure the breeding cycle of goats is to be properly taken care of. Since this results in the multiplication of goat count one has to rely on proper feed and water management. He mentioned that mistakes at the time of breeding due to inexperience resulted in mortality of goat kids and erodes away all the profits from the goat. He also advised farmers to learn all the things necessary if possible visit a goat farm and know about all the parameters, breeding, and caring of goats. This will result in the better production and managing of goats once you establish a goat farm. For newly born kids one has to be close to them, monitor and make them feed the beestings of mother goat. Beestings are the first milk produced by mother goats shortly (one or two. hours) after giving birth to the kids. This milk is rich in nutrients that are required for the kids. This milk helps goat kids by making them strong and immune to diseases at the early stages of their growth. Mr. Aftab build sheds following intensive rearing system to protect the goats from diseases and excess sunlight and rainfall and advised farmers to construct at least 5 feet elevated platform for goats to maintain proper hygiene as well as structure feeding lines.He practiced all the scientific practices of goat housing, health care management including timely vaccination and booster dose which he learned during his formal trainings and exposure visits. For getting good prices for his produce, he used the digital methods of marketing including youtube, whatsapp, Instagram etc. He also focused on developing and strengthening linkages with the small/ traditional goat farmers at the national level. As it has been a good demand in neighboring states as well as overseas, his quality hybrid pure line hybrid goat breeds like PatiraHyderabadi, Punjabi beetel, Ablak Hyderabad, have even made the place in the foreign markets like China and England where people are eagerly ready to buy these produces.

In his 3 years of goat rearing and breeding experience, he faced many troubles at the start mainly being high cost of feeds and fodder in Dahod, mortality of newly born goat kids due to shortage of experienced labour etc. However, spending much of his time at goat farm, he learned many things and techniques to rear goats from start till end. Cosequently, Mr. Aftab has become a well-recognized commercial goat farmer of not only Dahod region but also well recognized at national level. He ascribes the grand success of his farm to his selection of fast-growing pure line of breeds from the point of origin to ensure the quality of his produce, cheap procurement of fodder, extensive marketing linkages with farmers and entrepreneurs and scientist goat handling practices.

In a nutshell, Aftab started goat farming as allied enterprise as his hobby but now it has become his main income generation source. The beauty of his farm is she has adopted knowledge-based goat farming with focus on supplying pure line breeds of commercial importance at the lowest maintenance cost that led him to take two breeding per year. The two-breeding taken in a year from single goat enables to double the goat count you have in short period of time.In coming years, Aftab aims to be recognized as ace breeder and supplier of improved and exotic breeds of goats at national level by enhancing the breeding of exotic and improved goat breeds to cater the national as well as international markets. Mr. Aftab message to the aspiring agripreneurs as well as to the farmers is that Goat farming is hundred percent profitable venture, if it is adopted after proper training and learning. Even more, a farmer having agricultural land can take up goat farming at small scale and can take the advantage of in-house fodder production to reduce his cost of farm maintenance thereby gain extra income by selling goats.


The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the centre for Agricultural Market Intelligence, NAHEP-CAAST, Anand Agricultural University, Anand under National Agricultural Higher Education Project, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Pusa, Krishi Anusandhan Bhavan-II, New Delhi-110012