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Sheep rearing makes Rangpur rural women self-reliant

  • Our Correspondent
  • 19 February, 2022 12:00 AM
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Sheep rearing makes Rangpur rural women self-reliant

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RANGPUR: Many rural women have become self-reliant and improved their living standards through rearing sheep in all eight upazilas of the district over the last 10 years.

Officials of the Department of Livestock said rural women are expanding sheep rearing after getting assistance from the government in recent years.

Housewife Manira Begum of Char Gannarpar village on the Teesta riverbed in Gangachara upazila said she has become a life-sustaining self-reliant woman by rearing sheep.

Manira along with her farm-labourer husband Ala Mian and two daughters had to lead a miserable life even a decade ago. They lived in a thatched hut on the land of others.

The couple was working as farm-labourers to somehow feed their daughters. Manira somehow bought three sheep 10 years back.

‘I started to dream anew after buying three sheep harnessing my relentless determination,” Manira told the national news agency while returning home with her sheep herds after grazing them on nearby char lands.

She started taking extensive care of her sheep. After six months, each of the three sheep gave birth to three to four cubs.

Within another six months, they gave birth to three to four more cubs each as the process continued for 10 years, totally changing Manira’s life.

“I started meeting all expenses of my family by selling sheep. I have built a better house. I have 35 sheep now,” she said.

Manira grazes her flock of sheep daily on char areas and feels bad when she sells some of them in need.

Rashida Begum of village Laxmipur in Ekorchali union of Taraganj upazila said she was married with day-labourer Mansur Ali of the village about 40 years back.

The couple had no alternative to working as day-labourers to earn livelihoods.

“I gave birth to two sons and a daughter. We had to struggle everyday to earn livelihoods,” Rashida said.

At one stage, I somehow bought a female sheep at Taka 360 some twelve years back.

After six months, the sheep gave birth to four kids and also gave birth to four more kids after the next six months.

“The number of my sheep continued to rise every year and I started meeting all expenses by selling sheep,” she said.

By this time, Rashida married off her only daughter and her sons also got married.

Currently, Rashida has 45 sheep after giving 35 sheep to her neighbours for rearing those on lease. She has also gifted 20 sheep to her sons and daughter and sons-in-law and daughters-in-law.

Rashida has taken some cultivable lands on lease and built a house on her own land.

“Sheep are my fortune changers. My two sons are now vegetable traders and they are running their families with their own earnings,” a happier Rashida said.

District Livestock Officer Agriculturist Dr Md Sirajul Haque on Monday said that the reproduction rate of sheep has increased substantially in the district following various steps taken by the government.

Currently, there are 250 registered and 415 unregistered sheep rearing farms in the district. The number of sheep now stands at around one-lakh, almost double against the number seven years back.

“The Department of Livestock has taken steps to popularise sheep rearing and meat of sheep and ensure proper use of hair of sheep in making carpet, blanket, mat and other commercial goods,” he added.