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Providing Livestock Services

Investment in milk livestock is an important source of asset building and income source for rural families. We have seen that our borrowers make one of two choices when it comes to milk livestock investment. One is to invest in local breeds and the other is to invest in non local breeds (cross breeds and special breeds). Local breed animals are cheaper, sturdy but yield less milk and hence lesser income. Non local breeds are expensive, need to be well taken care of, yield more milk and hence higher income. The default choice for most borrowers is to invest in local breeds. The investment required is less and the risk of death of animal is also less. But it is also a lost opportunity to increase their income. Higher loans can be given for addressing the investment requirement. To address the risk of animal death is more difficult. This is linked to the capability of borrowers to select the right non local breeds and in taking care of the non local breeds; good veterinary services; and insurance cover to take care of financial risk from unexpected animal death.

Providing livestock insurance in deep rural areas requires a structure to be put in place to make it operational and effective. The structure requires: one, every animal is to be physically checked and tagged. Two, when there is a livestock death; the death case needs to be investigated speedily to ensure that the death is not done intentionally to claim insurance. Since, there was no structure in place in the areas we operate; we had to develop a structure in partnership with the insurance provider.    
The structure we have worked out is that our employee will do the initial inspection and tagging of the animal and also do the investigation and documentation required when there is an animal death. The insurer limits the maximum sum insured and puts a waiting period criteria (the minimum number of days after tagging before insurance can be considered) to take care of their risk.

It has taken us two years to come up with a structure and capability to physically check and tag an animal and to investigate and process speedily every animal death. At a region, which covers five to seven branches, we have a dedicated livestock officer. The livestock officer is the livestock expert for the region. He/she identifies after discussion with every branch those villages where larger livestock loans can be given. Larger livestock loans are given to cross breed animals and not to special breed animals which have even higher risk.  Only villages, where there is some history of taking care of cross breed animals, where there is sufficient green fodder availability, where there is opportunity for selling milk commercially and there is an acceptable level of veterinary service is selected for large livestock loans. In such villages, borrowers are encouraged to come together as a group if they are interested in taking livestock loans. When they come in as a group, the whole process of training borrowers and tagging of livestock becomes more efficient. At every branch one loan officer is trained by the regional livestock officer in checking animals and in tagging them. When there is an animal death, the regional livestock officer does the necessary process.  

The livestock officer in each region is also responsible for two other activities. One is to organize livestock health camps and two in improving the awareness among villagers in purchasing and taking care of livestock to reduce the risk of death and in increasing the productivity of animals.

A Case of Livestock Center(2013-14)

Borrowers Geeta and Manjula with their Cross breed Cows

Hanumanahalli is a village 2 km from our Sasvehalli branch in Davangere district. The village has 280 households. Sugarcane and paddy are the main crops grown twice a year in the village, which has good irrigation facilities. The average land holding among low income families is around 2 acres. The village has 80 milk yielding livestock with 60 of them being cross breed, 10 being local breed and 10 being high breed livestock. The village generates 300 litres of milk a day which is collected by two diaries. In the month of November 2013, we gave livestock loans to a 8 member group in the village. The 8 members were selected after assessing their ability to take care of cross breed cows. Each of the borrowers was given a 25,000 loan. Three of the borrowers bought buffalo’s with an average price of Rs. 17,000 and 5 of them have bought cross breed cows with an average price of Rs. 25000.

In addition to the cost of the animal, borrowers spend an addition 1000 to 2000 for transport and broker charges(charges for the person who identified the seller). All the borrowers bought their cows from close by villages. The cross breed cows bought were yielding 8 litres of milk a day from November to March. In April and May the yield has dropped to 6 litres a day due to summer season. The borrowers spend Rs. 1500 a month on special feeds for the cows. At a price per litre of Rs. 23, the borrowers were earning between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 1000 a month after paying for the loan installments and animal feed. Once the loan is repaid in 1.5 to 2 years, the income from each cow will go up by another Rs. 1500 a month. In addition  to this, most borrowers get their cows artificially inseminated. The calf that is born is of value if it is a female. Either it can be sold or can be tended to until it grows to yield milk. One of the cross breed cows died 3 months after purchase. The death happened 12 days after the cow delivered a calf. Both cow and calf died. The borrower Pushpa got Rs. 20,000 as insurance claim. The borrower did lose around Rs. 6000 to Rs. 7000. The borrower has accepted this loss as normal business risk. If the loss was the entire loan amount, it would have been a huge financial burden. Due to insurance cover, Pushpa is still keen on investing in another animal to increase her income

Livestock Health Camps
Many villagers do not take their animals for routine vaccinations and health checkups due to the remoteness of the villages. Veterinary doctors from the government department do not have the time to visit every village regularly to provide this service. Organizing health camps help in getting a large number of animals vaccinated, de-wormed, health checked and some essential medicines distributed. In 2013-14 we have conducted 3 livestock health camps. The details of the health camps conducted during 2013-14 are provided below

Photos of Livestock Camp done at Nilagallu village


Location of Camp



No. of cattle treated

D. Mallapura village


Nov 2013


Nilagallu village


Dec 2013


Kotabagi village


Feb 2014


Livestock Educational Video
We have seen that the awareness of villagers about livestock related diseases and livestock productivity issues is limited. We came up with a local livestock educational video which addressed locally prevalent health and productivity issues.

Details of Livestock Initiatives Conduced in the last three years


Livestock Initiatives



2014 - 15, till Dec 2014

Live Stock Insurance




Livestock health Camps


3 Camps & 530 Cattles

1 Camp & 30 Cattles

Livestock awareness camps / Live Stock related Education


20 Video Shows & 555 Members

76 Videos Shows & 4,240 Members