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Family Livestock Production Increases Income in Mexico
For the Otomi indigenous people of Mexico, livestock projects are contributing to the families’ nutrition and well-being by adding protein to their daily diets as well as yielding a household economy with product sales. This has potential to give families a stable economy with profitable business.
Reducing Poverty with Livestock and Agricultural Opportunities
The household economies for the Otomi indigenous people of Mexico are 90% based on handicraft commerce, medicinal plants sales, and day labor in the cities. Livestock production is not typically considered because families often lack the technical knowledge. For those families who endeavor to earn income via this method, the lack of community infrastructure and the marginalized state of resources result in low production, poor herd health, and technological lag. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased unemployment, decreased income, and increased the expenses for food and medicines. Community members are hoping that with support, agriculture and backyard animal husbandry can be a reliable opportunity for family-integrated income.
Families Build Profitable Businesses
Livestock projects in the communities focus on training for the development of rabbit offspring, egg-laying hens, piglets, and goats. Participants are continuously instructed regarding breeding, feeding, production, and sales. The project contributes to the families’ nutrition and well-being by adding protein to their daily diets as well as contributing to the household economy with product sales. Specifically, the Otomi livestock project is aimed at training families to increase the production and sale of products (meat and milk) from herds of goats, cows, and sheep and to increase the number of offspring to sell in the local market. Once trained, the families will be able to offer quality products directly to the consumer, improve their income, and raise their standard of living. The production chain of sheep and dairy goats (production, processing, and marketing) has potential to give families a stable economy with profitable business.
In the project, the CHOICE team in Mexico has supported families with animals, financial assistance to buy livestock, medicine, agricultural materials, and food for their herds. CHOICE has also worked with and through the communities to train them on agricultural practices and machinery operation.
Additionally, CHOICE has helped educate participants on developing a work plan and strategizing on logistics, including building out a sanitary calendar, improving the facilities, and managing genetic quality in their herds. A monthly training program was also established with topics on herd management, production, reproduction, health, and genetics.
Future stages of the project will include product development (preparing quality milk and meat for market) and distribution.
The Early Outcomes
The early stages of the livestock project involve poultry farming. Currently, the group of poultry farmers in the region is made up of 103 families, who continue
to be trained to improve day by day. These 103 families, with more than 500 members, benefit directly from access to animal protein in their diet. Another 100 families in the different communities benefit indirectly when the families sell their surplus products. The farmers are hoping that in the following years they will be able to incorporate more families in the region into the project and expand into other livestock. In addition to the nutrition and economic development benefits, this project has also been successful in reducing gender inequality in the area.
Adriana Shows Initiative With a Chicken Coop
Adriana Martimiano is one of many enterprising women in her community to take on chicken production. She needed a chicken coop that would allow her to keep her birds sheltered and safe because she wanted to produce her own eggs and meat for her family.
As beneficiaries of this project supported by CHOICE and the government of the State of Mexico, Adriana and 17 other women from her community learned to build their own reinforced chicken coops. Adriana now has a large production of birds that allow her to offer fresh eggs daily at her family's table. She also sells the surplus eggs and meat in her community, generating extra income and sharing the eggs and meat with other families.
Adriana's desire is now to continue training in poultry production, increase her outputs by building another chicken coop, and share her resources with more families in the community.