Rashida Begum, 45, a resident of Beel Sohar village under Tanore upazila, has been able to break the poverty cycle after finding the way of a better livelihood though self-employment.
Earning money from duck farming and a grocery shop has now become a consistent source of income, which is gradually increasing due to rising local demands.
“The income has driven out my long-lasting poverty and financial hardship and uncertainty I had before,” said Rashida.
The transformation in her life began in 2014. Initially, she received a loan worth Tk 5,000 from her 60-member Village Development Committee (VDC) and established a small-scale duck farm at her home.
“Ducks farming is less expensive, simple, and commercially viable,” she said, while sharing her experience.
Rasheda said that she made good profits by selling ducks and eggs at the local markets, and eventually opened a grocery shop with earnings from the farm.
“Now, I’m very happy as I have found the path of regular earnings through operating the shop and the duck farm successfully,” added Rasheda, who has no educational background.
Meanwhile, commercial farming of ducks, including geese are gaining popularity in the region, including its vast Barind tract, for the last couple of years in the wake of gradually increasing nutritional demand and lucrative market prices.
Duck products, such as eggs and meat, have a great demand in the local markets. So, commercial duck farming is being adjudged as a great source of earning.
Many successful farmers are making a standard profit from their duck farming business. Duck farming has also become a stable employment source. Young unemployed educated people are joining the business.
Hundreds of poor and marginal families have become economically solvent by rearing ducks. There are more than 2,500 duck farms in Rajshahi division comprising eight districts and its farming has become more profitable and sustainable, where beel areas and wetlands are situated, said ATM Fazlul Kadir, divisional Deputy Director of Department of Livestock Services.
He said many people commercially raise ducks on a small scale to get meat or eggs. Even, they raise ducks on their own backyard with other birds or animals.
Mahtab Ali, a rural jobless person who completed graduation and failed to get a job, is presently the owner of a duck farm and now able to manage his family properly. He is an inhabitant of Talanda village.
While talking to a reporter, the farm owner, said five years back, the income of his father, a poor farmer, was not enough to meet even the basic needs of their family.
However, he was committed to doing something positive to change the lot of his family. Therefore, he took a short training course from Rajshahi Youth Development Training Centre in 2008, and set up a duck farm adjacent to his house.
Reportedly, some poor fishermen families took loans from NGOs and started duck farming at their houses.
The Department of Animal Resources also came forward to assist them by supplying improved, hybrid varieties of ducklings.
Dr Jalal Uddin Sarder, professor of Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science at Rajshahi University, said women, particularly the housewives, are mostly involved in rearing indigenous species of ducks.
Ducks need less expensive, simple and non-elaborate housing facilities resulting in the very low cost for setting up commercial duck farms.
They are very hardy birds, and so they need less care as they can adapt themselves with almost all types of environmental conditions. The ducks are mostly fed home-made feed in addition to what they derive from scavenging facilities, reports BSS.
Most of the farmers provided rice polish, boiled rice and broken rice as supplementary feed ingredients to ducks, either singly or in combination.
High price and scarcity of feed are the major constraints affecting duck production during this dry season. Use of natural feed resources in an increasing manner may help overcome the feed problem.
Regular vaccination and use of cost-effective balanced diets can have a decisive effect on duck rearing. As a whole, there are great potentials for the improvement of native duck production in the region by means of nutritional and management engineering, Prof Jalal Sarder added.
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