Pass-on livestock scheme improves lives

Self Help AfricaAgriculture & Nutrition, News, Zambia

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Christine and Timothy Mtonga know that the simple act of giving can go a long way to changing someone’s life.

“When you give goats to a farmer, it provides a jump-start for that person to improve their life. That’s exactly what happened to us,” recalls Christine.

Timothy (63) and Christine (54) remember the day, 12 years ago, when they received seven goats as part of a Self Help Africa livestock and trade project in eastern Zambia.

As their herd grew they returned seven of their goat kids to the project as a part of its ‘pass on’ scheme, and the animals were given to other families in Chaola village. Today, 21 households in the village supplement their incomes by rearing improved breed goats.

“Today we get 500 kwacha (€40) for a male goat, and 350 kwacha (€30) for a female,” explains Timothy, who says that at one time they owned more than 60 goats. They currently have around 30.

With the income, the couple was able to buy seeds, tools, fertiliser and other inputs to help them increase the production on their small vegetable garden, while they use goat manure as natural fertiliser in their fields.

Christine and Timothy recently bought an additional piece of land on which they are building a new house: they also plan to pay to send all of their children to school.

The herd of goats also brought some unexpected benefits for the couple’s eight children, fourteen grandchildren and great-grandchild.

Christine explains that there have been health benefits too from their joint enterprise, as they are using the milk from their goats in the porridge and scones that she bakes for the family, her grandchildren included.

To date, 3,630 people have been provided with support in establishing district livestock associations, training on livestock production and management, trade and more in eastern Zambia.