“In Darlaghat, Himachal Pradesh, livestock are a major source of income for families. A big challenge however, was access to timely, good quality veterinary care.
We thought, why not train local women with basic veterinary skills? And so we kickstarted Pashu Swasthya Sevika in 2008 where 23 local women were trained to provide prompt cattle care on people's doorstep. Things started slowly, but the dedication and promptness of the PSS made them crucial to farmers. Overtime, they became linchpins of the community.
One day, we saw an opportunity to strengthen the PSS role – by starting a dairy business! The cattle they treated were healthier, and milk production was abundant. All they needed was guidance, and a market. The PSS were charged up! Confident now, they too wanted to unleash their potential. ACF devised a business plan for the project, and the PSS quickly convinced farmers to join the venture - registering their own Farmer Producer Organisation in 2016, with 37 women shareholders.
The FPO not only channelized collective milk supply, but also collectively procured low cost, high quality fodder from cities. Within 12months, more women came forward, until over 150 women joined the FPO, and cattle numbers swelled from 487 (2008) to 1221 (2016).
The results? Women's earnings increased by Rs 5000 per month per member, and FPO turnover was Rs 40 lakh, with Rs 2.5 lakh profit. But still the PSS are not content. They now have their sights set on launching a Dairy Cooperative! The sky is the limit!”