Engaged in rearing and breeding four goat breeds in Uttarakhand
“We started our farm in a planned manner by gathering information on goat farming, conducting market survey, scientifically constructing farm infrastructure and organizing fodder cultivation. Our first purchase was 60 goats that increased to 320 goats within the span of 6 months. Seeing the farm, we started receiving walk-in farmers and buyers. Slowly goat selling commenced and we began recovering our cost. One breakthrough in the business lead to another and within 4 years of establishment we cleared Rs. 28 lakh loan amount (only Rs. 4 lakh is pending). It implies agriculture is profitable and we did it through goat farming,” affirms Mr. Robin Smith, founder, Prem Agro Farm. He established and manages the farm along with his wife Mrs. Shweta Tomar. “Work took us to Bangalore and paid us well but we decided to get back home to our valley Rani Pokhri to start something with and for our own people.” The farm is located at Rani Pokhari village, 8 km from Dehradun airport, Uttarakhand.
Prem Agro Farm was established in 2015 but became operational in 2016 February. In the farm, the shed is built on 3000 sq ft, store room and worker dormitory in 2000 sq ft, fodder cultivation in 15000 sq ft and open area in 10, 000 sq ft. “The shed is elevated 5 feet above the ground, constructed with wood and there is small gap between the two reapers to allow goat urine and excreta to fall down. Every day the floor is wiped and disinfected. We consciously kept ample of open space as it is imperative for the physical growth of goat to let them out in open space for free movement as it increases the blood flow in their body and skin absorbs the sunlight,” says Mrs. Shweta Tomar. In order to stay updated with every minute detail in the farm Mr. Smith has installed CCTv in the farm. “I want to be prepared to tackle any emergency as animals’ exhibit discomfort through the change in its body movement hence every movement needs to be recorded.”
The farm has four breeds of goats namely totapuri , jamunapuri, sirohi and barbari. The present herd includes Jamunapari 50, totapuri 50, sirohi 50 and barbari 100. “We have more number of barbari goats as it has good reproduction rate and demand for this particular breed is more in our region. Mostly jamunapari, totapuri and sirohi breeds are sold at higher price than barbari goats,” he informs.
Every breed has its unique feature, “Barbari looks like deer, Jamunapari has shiny white hair, Sirohi is native to Rajasthan state and Totapuri is cross of Jamunapari and Sirohi hence has mixed features of these two breeds. The first two breeds’ weight goes upto 40 kgs, Jamunapari grows 3.5-4 feet tall in 2-3 years and attains weight of 40-45 kgs in one year. Sirohi gains 25-30 kg weight in a year. Life span of all these breeds is 13 years. We can breed it for 10 years,” she explains. Usually 1.5 years onwards goats are allowed for natural matting. The ideal male:female ratio is 1:20. In one year female goat delivers 2 kids.
Detailed records are maintained for each and every animal in the farm right from its pedigree to procurement source, medical history etc. “Once in two years we clear the old herd and start fresh with new set of goats,” she says.
Goats are fed twice in a day, 8 AM and 4PM. One goat requires 6 kg feed. “Morning we mix napier grass, wheat/paddy husk. Green fodder is 70% and dry fodder 30%.” Fodder for goats is produced in-house as well as bought from the market. “We grow fodder organically depending upon the season. We grow corn, wheat and Napier grass. Along with this we give leaves of neem, berry and jackfruit tree. In addition we give fruit waste (rich in protein) and vegetable waste (rich in roughage) to the goats,” states Mrs. Tomar. Feeding pattern for male and female goats is different. “Male goat requires additional feed hence we give extra 0.5 litre milk and 100ml mustard every day. Mustard oil is given to keep the body warm.” Filtered water is given to the goats.
Entire herd is vaccinated as per the prescribed schedule. “Once in 3 months we do deworming and give PPR on the right time because if the goats get infected PPR then it is 100% loss. PPR is given every year and RMD once in 6 months,” insists Mrs. Tomar. Mortality in the farm is 5%.
The goats are sold to the farmers for rearing and to direct consumers on the festive occasions. “Our farm has received lot of attention from nearby small and marginal farmers as for them goat is ATM (any time money). They purchase kids, rear and sell after 6 months. If the stock remains unsold then we rear it and sell to end consumers,” states Mr. Smith and adds, “Once I sold 92 goats in one deal for breeding purpose.” 1.5 years old female breeding goat is sold at Rs. 15,000. Male goats are sold at jamunapari Rs. 22000, totapuri Rs.17000, sirohi Rs. 11000, barbar Rs. 8000. During special occasions like Bakrid farmers earn additional profit of 50-60%. “Goats aged 6 months – 1 year are sold for meat. One month kid is sold at Rs. 5000 for rearing to other farmers. After a month kids feed on fodder hence can be sold. Usually we sell female goats after it stops giving birth to kid.”
“People trust us for our quality and knowledge hence we started 2 days training program once in two month. Program fee is Rs. 5000. Day 1 is all about theory that includes goat body structure, reproduction, feed, etc. Day 2 we call para veterinary doctors and they give training about the disease and vaccinations. It is followed by farm visit and issuing autonomous certificate. Now we are strongly considering offering consultancy services,” shares Mr. Smith. Many people who took training started their farm. “We stay connected through WhatsApp with all of them.”
The only challenge faced in goat farming is lack of financial support from bank and other institutes. “We could take the risk so took Rs.32 lakh loan from Punjab National Bank. We pay very high interest on loan that is 12.01%. I have observed rural folks are interested to take up farming as career but not have the financial back-up hence seek the support. However, with such high interest rates they are not able to take that first step,” emphasizes Mr. Smith.
Once the goat farm had smooth operations the couple diversified into dairy and poultry farming too.
“In goat farming the market has huge untapped demand. Farmers can produce good quality goats, invest time in networking and earn good profits,” they sign off.
Mr. Robin Smith holds B.Tech (Computer Science) and MBA (Marketing) while his wife Mrs. Shweta Tomar is fashion designer. She completed MA and is pursuing B.Ed.
Prem Agro Farm
Mr. Robin Smith
Listrabad, Rani Pokhari Village, Rishikesh Tehsil, Dehradun, Uttarakhand.