Chicken Farming Helps Rural Women

          Reducing Poverty - Boosting Food Security - Empowering Women
For Naroi villagers on the island of Moala in Lau, importing four bags of chicken and 42 dozens of eggs each month isn’t enough to sustain them, especially when the rainy season makes it both difficult and dangerous to go fishing.
That all changed when the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation through their Non-Government Organisation grant decided to assist the Naroi Women’s Group to develop a poultry farm in April.  To date, the poultry farm is not only addressing financial independence but also address the issue of food security among villagers.

Naroi Women’s Group leader Litea Draunidalo said the shortages faced and the isolation of their villages meant that purchasing from nearby shops at a higher price was the only option available.

“These stocks will last only for three days and villagers faced lot of difficulties. We didn’t have any choice but to purchase from nearby shops regardless of the prices,” she said

“But now with our own poultry farm we are at ease because we can get both the meat birds and also eggs. Particularly during rainy seasons villagers cannot go out to catch fish so they depend mostly on chicken meat.”

What makes this poultry farm more special is that Moala is the first island in the Lau Group to raise both the layer birds and meat birds.

Ms Draunidalo said a total of 50 meat birds had already sold out and the group was able to earn about $300 per month given the high demand for chickens and eggs in Moala.

“There are 100 meat birds and 50 layer birds. The meat birds are sold @ $20 each depending on the weight and eggs sold at $10 to $15 per crate. We have an increasing demand given the secondary and primary boarding schools in Moala and the money earned has been used to extend the poultry shed and buy more chickens to meet those demands.
“This project is supported by all the village members, youths and vocational teachers at the Moala Secondary School, we have savings account and the future plans are to support our children’s higher education and meet the day to day needs,” she said.

While thanking the Government for its assistance to the women in Moala,  the group leader adds that this project is a source of motivation for villagers to become financially independent.

“All women should be independent and improve their financial status. The Naroi women’s poultry project has made us realise the importance of our economic contribution and we are grateful to the Government for giving us this opportunity and assistance,” Ms Draunidalo added.

The total budget allocated to the Non Government Organisation grant is $200,000 and provides a platform for the ministry to assist women NGO’s with income generating projects.  For 2011, the ministry’s annual corporate plan identified the development of 15 poultry projects in the country with Naroi Village included.

The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko reiterated that this would be carried out through the Women’s Plan of Action 2010 to 2019 (WPA) whereby the ministry embarks on developing poultry projects and vegetable farms not only to reduce poverty but also to boost the economic status of women at all levels.

“Economic participation of women is one of key priority areas for Government and the underlying vision is to introduce women into income generating projects to encourage full participation and decision making for women at grassroots level. Similar projects have been eyed for other divisions as well,” Dr Luveni said.

Source: No:1407/ MSWWPA


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