A SELCO Foundation Initiative
Re-defining Scale and Decentralising Services through SDG7-driven Innovations
(showed in Gond)
Illustrates a tribal landless family who started poultry farming but had its own challenges of reducing input costs and bringing in efficiency in poultry rearing. Although during the COVID-19 lockdown, the poultry industry suffered terribly and with transportation services banned, the bird stocks increased at farm levels. Reliable solar energy solutions supported by safety nets provided by the FPO cooperatives helped them set up a sustainable livelihood solution and create linkages for such farmers during COVID-19.
In a small, verdant village lives a tribal family of a mother along with her husband and their three sons. A landless family, the parents relied on their earnings from daily wage work for their survival. As the children grew older, they needed to find other ways to supplement their income, to meet the growing needs of their family.
The parents did not take up paddy cultivation, because they simply lacked the large amount of cash required to take land on lease. But, in 2016 when the couple was introduced to poultry farming through a local NGO, they sought permission to use a small piece of their uncle's land to construct a poultry shed. The mother then underwent practical training on broiler farming and became part of a poultry cooperative.
For the mother, poultry farming came with its own challenges. Providing 11 hours of lighting for the healthy growth of the chicks was an expensive affair. Kerosene was too weak, portable options didn’t suit the setup and commercial grid lighting was expensive. As a result, she faced poor feed conversion ratios due to darkness. In 2019, when she became aware of the solar lighting solution being offered by SELCO Foundation, she immediately invested in a 2 light system.
Reliable solar lighting has drastically reduced the mortality rate of the chicks. Chicks now attain the desired weight 1 day ahead of time, which helps the mother to save the expense of chick feed for an entire day - adding to the profits. Their family has accumulated savings every month despite their EMI payments. The mother now completely undertakes the expenses of her children’s education, while her husband and elder son focus on agricultural activities.
During the COVID lockdown, the poultry industry suffered terribly. With transportation services banned, the bird stocks increased at farm levels. Livestock had to be sold for quarter of their actual prices and fear of the COVID virus spreading through chicken meat drastically reduced consumption of chicken in rural areas.
While many landless poultry farmers like this mother were saved from losses due to the safety net provided by their FPO cooperatives, the cooperatives themselves suffered immensely. FPOs paid farmers their necessary due when purchasing, but themselves absorbed the loss in sales. This has left them with no working capital, they are on the verge of shutting down despite becoming functional again. As a result they are unable to share any profits with the farmers of the FPO.
“I am very happy with solar light in my poultry farm and it has encouraged me to establish one more poultry farm” - Poultry Farmer
“The solar solution is a permanent solution for rural tribal landless poultry farmers and it makes additional benefits for individual farmer as well as farmer collectives”, CEO of Poultry Cooperative Limited
One of the biggest losses during the crisis would be if we don't use this period to understand the weakest links in the livelihoods that led to the losses and innovate for decentralization using sustainable energy. As we saw in the above case, the presence of the poultry FPO shielded the individual farmers from the losses, helping them tide through the crisis. Such institutions serve as safety nets and help ensure that we are creating foundational institutions that socialise the losses and the gains while privatizing them.
Gond by Dilip Shyam
Dilip Shyam, born in 1979, hails from Patangarh village in Madhya Pradesh. While watching the family members painting walls of homes with beautifully detailed figures narrating stories, he wished to be an artist since childhood.
After graduating from school, he left his village and moved to Bhopal with high hopes. He is well known for his depiction of nature in the painting style - Gond. His paternal uncle, the renowned Gondi painter Jangarh Singh Shyam, encouraged him to take up the art form and follow his passion. From the year 1996 to present, he has participated in more than 35 workshops and exhibitions across the country.
Some of Dilip’s works are on display at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal and many have also been incorporated as illustrations in various books.
Gond paintings are a form of folk and tribal art that is practiced by one of the largest tribes in India with whom it shares its name. Gond comes from the Dravidian expression, Kond which means ‘the green mountain’. Gond paintings are a reflection of man’s close connection with his natural surroundings.