Empowerment of Tribal Farmers through Vanaraja Backyard Farming in Sikkim
Backyard poultry in Sikkim is very popular and mostly under taken by the farm women as an avenue for income generation and livelihood security. ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre, Tadong intervened with the ‘Vanaraja’ dual purpose improved backyard poultry birds through Poultry Seed Project of Directorate of Poultry Research, Hyderabad under Tribal Sub Plan (TSP). ‘Vanaraja’ thrives well under redistricted feeding and limited management practices followed by the farmers of Sikkim. The faster growth habit and higher egg laying capacity than indigenous birds have made marked improvement in livelihood of the farming community. Thus, the Vanaraja birds have been identified for intervention due to multiple color plumage which resembles to the indigenous birds and fetches better price in terms of meat as well as egg in the market.
The best poultry producers within SHGs of the adopted villages of the state were identified as the first line beneficiaries. Lepcha, Bhutia, Tamang and Limboo tribals of the state have been covered under the Scheme. The institute organized several Off and On Campus training and demonstration programmes on “Backyard Poultry Rearing” for farmers especially farm women. During 2014-15, more than 27000 Vanaraja birds have been distributed to around 1300 beneficiaries of all the four districts of Sikkim along with timely vaccination and treatment etc. under the programme. The parameter wise observations showed significantly better performance of the improved poultry bird over the local ones; in respect of average body weight of male at three months (2.4 kg), average body weight of female at three months (1.7 kg), average age at first laying (150-155 days), average egg production (150-170 per annum) and the benefit: cost ratio (1.93).