Muhammad Farooq, 48, a retired veterinary officer lives in village Rawli district Bagh with his wife, 6 sons and 1 daughter. He got retired as assistant veterinary officer in 2015. With this number of family members, it was difficult for Farooq to meet different needs of family, particularly education of six sons and one daughter. He tried different means to earn for his family but nothing work out.
In the meantime, Islamic Relief initiated IR USA supported project “Sustainable Economic Development through Value Chains, Advocacy and Disaster Risk Reductions (EDVAD)”. Field staff in its search for appropriate candidate to be trained in Artificial Insemination (AI) met with Farooq in village Rawli, District Bagh. Farooq recalls “it was an exciting moment for me when IR staff collected details and identified me as candidate for AI training”. He continued “I including 29 other candidate from District Bagh and Haveli got opportunity to attend a month long training in National Agriculture Research Council (NARC)”.
Islamic Relief food security livelihood team had extensive discussions with management of NARC to customize the course to the needs of candidates, who will serve the communities in mountainous villages of District Bagh.
Farooq adds “we all candidates started a delightful journey of hopes towards NARC, Islamabad. It was a stay of learning and laughs. Learned trainers of the institute engaged us in experimental learning complemented with some theory. Initial phase of training was focused on AI for large animals. ” “on way back, I started serving the farming community in adjacent villages “, he stated, “but it is bit difficult to respond the calls of farmers in hilly areas on urgent basis”.
Islamic Relief veterinarians continuously supported, guided and supervised the activities of AI workers like Farooq and realized that mobility of AI workers is becoming a barrier to ensure timely AI services to the farmers. Another need, farmers pushed for is breed improvement of small ruminants. Farooq elaborates “after practice of AI, farmers have benefited to get timely response, improved breed and milk production, however, we cannot cover farmers with small ruminants”. He maintains “Islamic Relief team took our suggestions in this regard and provided opportunity of refresher in AI at NARC for small ruminants”. After completion of refresher Islamic Relief has provided motorbikes to Farooq including 14 other colleagues of him based on joint performance evaluation with livestock department. He excitingly shares “with motorbike I can facilitate farmers in remote parts of mountains to ensure breed improvement in goats”.
He remarks “With the support to 840 farmers on breed improvement and first aid, I have been able to earn around 800,000 PKR in last nine months”. He cheers “I am extremely glad to serve my community but simultaneously my economic woes are over because my children are continuing their education and I can take care of other family needs without any worry”.