Healthy animals and improved food security: A success story
Tambara families lose less of their livestock to disease since the successful establishment of basic animal husbandry. When threatened by drought, they can sell the goats for food.
Goats, very important to the food security in the Tambara district where the dry climate is bad for agriculture, used to be left to forage for food and water on their own. If they became sick no treatment was provided and only some would survive.
Alberto Bunai, the local extension officer of the Veterinary Services of Tambara, explains how this pattern was reversed with the help of the Magariro Community Development Association, an Oxfam Canada partner in the Sustainable Livelihoods and Agriculture Program.
“Together with Magariro we trained 36 veterinary promoters. Of these 36, we trained six women, which was extremely revolutionary for the culture of this area, where women had the role of raising chickens only.” The veterinarian promoters were trained in animal health management, in identification, prevention and treatment of common diseases and in construction of better corrals.
“This year the population of goats reduced but not because of mortality. Since the harvest was poor due to the drought, smallholder farmers are selling animals to buy food. For us, this is very positive since it demonstrates that we have managed to improve food security of the smallholder farmers by assisting them to treat their animals.”
“Today I see the sadness in a livestock producer when his animal is sick,” Alberto says. “He knows that the animal is money, and has value, therefore he can’t lose it. He treats his animals in a way which prevents them from becoming sick. It is a big difference from what happened in the past.”