Goat Rearing : A Key Player In Rural Women Empowerment

Pashu Sandesh, 05 November 2018

Dr. Priyanka Meena and Dr. Somesh Kumar Joshi                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Throughout the world, rural women are involved extensively in agricultural operations. Women are the most important segment of human resources who need attention for their development. There is a close relationship between the status of women and the socio-economic development of any country. Women’s participation in agricultural activities is higher than that of men. Women actively participate in a range of activities related to crop production and livestock management. Women in rural are always venerable to basic needs ,food and nutrition security, education and health. They are economical weak and less opportunity for income generation. Rural women totally depend upon agriculture and allied activities. Rural men migrate to big cities for economic opportunity leaving behind their women in villages as caretaker of their families and farm.

Women play the most important role in goat rearing. According to the 19th livestock census conducted by the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries, Government of India the total livestock population in the country are around 512.05 million numbers. Out of this occupies by the goat is 135.17 million (26.40 percent) making it second largest goat holding country in the world, goat meat i.e. chevon contributes about 14.22% share in total meat production of India. The role of women in goat keeping is very significant in the rural families and goat is the most important means through which rural women are able to contribute meaningfully to the cash needs for her self and their family members. Among the livestock livelihood, Goats are more economical than cattle as they are less investment oriented. Goat rearing is the most useful way of women’s earning those who stay at home. Goats are the most common small ruminant and are raised for meat, milk, hide and manure to improve soil fertility and structure. With the cost of one buffalo or two cows, a farmer can purchase more than 10 goats. It proved good under natural grazing. Land requirement is low. It does not require any serious housing facilities and management skill. It is easier to increase the population of goat than cattle and buffalo as reproduction rate is higher. 

Through dairy goat production, these rural households are accessing nutritious food and are able to earn an additional income through goat milk sales and the sale of products like sour milk and yoghurt made from goat’s milk. Though women play a significant role in goat farming activities, the income from the enterprise does not remain in the hands of women; this might be due to their lesser involvement in income-generating activities. The finding of the study implies that women were actively involved in indoor activities and male in outdoor activities. So, there is a need for strengthening the extension work by government and non-government organisations to ensure a continuous flow of information to the rural women to overcome the obstacle in goat rearing practices and to enhance their productivity.

 By the training programme, we enhanced the capacity of women dairy goat farmers to engage with the dairy goat value chain by looking for goat milk markets on their own, developed their management skills by making critical decisions about livestock feed and established a dairy goat value chain model that is user-friendly to rural women. Women only achieved symbolic representation and there are none or little opportunities for them to assume positions such as manager, planner or director in the organisations. So, the extension agencies and government organisations should formulate policies for gender empowerment, gender mainstreaming and ultimately for the sustainable development of the enterprise. Female extension wing and women training centres should be established at the district level to train and motivate the rural farm women to acquire newer and easier scientific technologies and to enhance their productivity. 

Goats can be managed by spare family labour. There is quick pay of due because of fast multiplication and early maturity. Further the risk involved in goat farming in much lower when compared to other livestock and crop production. More importantly, goats are part of different religious functions and festival but don’t have any religious sentiments that are making it even more adaptable than other cattle. There is a very strong bond between goat and women. Goats and its kids are always a companion to women and one of the medium of entertainment in rural. It is also the biggest asset they have. 

Goats not only provide the source of income but also ensure the nutritional security of their family. The study revealed that the major activities like sale/purchase of goat, grazing of goats, feeding and watering, care of kids, cleaning of pen and household maintenance, milking of goats, health management and breeding management of goats were performed mainly by women. 

Approaches for betterment      

    • Participation of rural women in goat production value chain as they proved better care taker
    • Program and policies focus on women as goat keeper
    • Addressing financial illiteracy among goat keepers and working with financial institutions, sensitisation for goat rearing benefits to financial institutes to overcome credit challenges.
    • Introduction of better insurance policies, implementation and penetration to ensure 
    • Market orientation is an important driving force for increased production and improved productivity.
    • Introduction of pure and good breed to improve productivity
    • Effective training and exposure of goat keeper to increase their awareness about management and health care to minimise risk
    • Formation of goat keepers federation for accessing benefit, cross learning, sharing and helping each other
    • Program for feed production and a new technique to increase nutrition using locally available feed 
    • Overall capacity building of farmer about feed production, management, health care, breed improvement, to access credit and market
    • Proper management and upbringing of kids to check high mortality


The role of women in goat keeping is very significant in the rural families and goat is the most important means through which rural women are able to contribute meaningfully to the cash needs for her self and their family members. Goat rearing is the most useful way of women’s earning those who stay at home. There is great role of goat in women empowerment. 

Dr. Priyanka Meena and Dr. Somesh Kumar Joshi                                                                                                                                                     

Assistant Professor,Apollo College of Veterinary Medicine, Jaipur-302031