The Jigawa state government is set to export goats as a way of eradicating poverty from the state by introducing a goat multiplication farming programme.
The initiative introduced by Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar is expected to bring 18,000 women out of poverty as 47 per cent of the population are women.
Vanguard reports that the national poverty indices place the state as the poorest and women as the most vulnerable. The new goat multiplication scheme is already yielding result.
Aishatu Jibrin who was a cap-knitter and has four children benefitted from the goat farming scheme.
“I have been knitting since when I was 12 and I have continued even after marriage but the impact on my livelihood and that that of my family has not changed due to exploitation by middlemen.”
She said it took her two weeks to make a cap and earned between N500 and N700 per cap but this did not help the family financially.
“I therefore always wished to have something that could make my life and that of my family better.”
“I was so happy when my name appeared among pioneer beneficiaries of the scheme and the day I collected my three goats, two she goats and one male, it was the beginning of a dream which I hope will transform my life and that of my family in the next one year”.
Aishatu applauded the state government for the initiative and hoped that other women will also benefit from it. According to her, her goats have already multiplied.
“My hope is to sell by the end of year so that I can buy many sewing machines and open a fashion business in my village.”
Indo Dahiru who is also a mother a four and a beneficiary of the scheme said she now enjoys rearing her goats and watching them multiply.
“When I was given the three goats last year, I was apprehensive that they may die because I had never engaged in goat or animal husbandry before. But as I got used to it, I saw them begin to multiply. I became more attracted and began to pay more attention to them.”
“I was never a contributor to the upkeep of the family because I was not involved in any trade or business.”
“However, as I became engaged in this project, I can now say, without the fear of being contradicted, that my life and that of my family has changed.”
“My hope is to be able to generate enough from the business and afford to pay for hajj”.
Governor Abubakar explained that his goal was to diversify the economy and eradicate poverty especially among women by providing empowerment.
“Our state has one of the highest levels of poverty especially amongst women and this is something we must stop. The easiest and most effective way is through the goat multiplication programme which we borrowed from Bostwana and South Africa where millions of women were removed out of poverty.”
He said millions of Naira was used to purchase thousands of goats to provide women who needed financial independence with a good start.
He recognised women as a core group that can help to tackle and solve the problem of poverty.
Alhaji Hamza Muhammed Hadejia who is the governor’s special assistant on community services said a monitoring mechanism had been put in place to supervise the scheme and ensure sustainability and repayment so that others can benefit.
“We have set up a committee that is working with the over 18,000 beneficiaries so that the output of the multiplication project will be marketed and sold at optimum profit.”
Hadejia explained that the Saudi Arabian government mass animal purchase scheme is being explored by the committee so that the beneficiaries will be able to export their goats and also sell locally.
“It is estimated that by end of the year, these 18,000 distributed goats will multiply to over 100,000 and will form a large resources for both the beneficiaries as well as revenue for the state government.
“In short, millions of people, including the beneficiaries and their families, in few years to come, will be taken out of poverty”.
The scheme has however received criticism from opposition particularly the Peoples Democratic Party that the governor’s project has taken the state backward after the former government built an airport that “launched the state into the elite comity of states in the country”.
Governor Abubakar however responded: “Given the option of a plane ride to Abuja and back from the `wonder airport’ at N50,000 and three goats for N15,000 ,our rural women opted for the latter.”