Duck farming becomes boon for Rajshahi villagers

Rashida Begum, 45, a resident of Beel Sohar village under Tanore upazila, has been able to break the poverty cycle after finding the way of a better livelihood though self-employment.

Earning money from duck farming and a grocery shop has now become a consistent source of income, which is gradually increasing due to rising local demands.

“The income has driven-out my long-lasting poverty and financial hardship and uncertainty those I had before,” said Rashida.

The transformation in her life began in 2014. Initially, she received a loan worth Taka 5,000 from her 60-member Village Development Committee (VDC) and established a small-scale duck farm at her home.

“Ducks farming is less expensive, simple and commercially viable,” she said sharing her experience.

Rasheda said that she made good profit by selling ducks and eggs at the local markets, and eventually opened a grocery shop with earning from the farm.

“Now, I’m very happy as I have found the path of regular earning through operating the shop and the duck farm successfully,” added Rasheda, who has no educational background.

Meanwhile, commercial farming of ducks including gooses are gaining popularity in the region including its vast Barind tract for the last couple
of years in the wake of gradually increasing nutritional demand and lucrative market price.

Duck products such as eggs and meat have a great demand in the local markets. So, commercial duck farming business is being adjudged as a great source of earning.

Many successful farmers are making a high profit from their duck farming business. Duck farming business has also become a stable employment source. Young unemployed educated people are joining the business making their own employment source.

Hundreds of poor and marginal families have become economically solvent by rearing ducks. There are more than 2,500 duck farms in Rajshahi division comprising eight districts and its farming has become more profitable and sustainable, where Beel areas and wetlands are situated, said ATM Fazlul Kadir, divisional Deputy Director of Department of Livestock Services.

He said many people raise ducks both on commercial and small scale to get meat or egg. Even, they raise some ducks on their own backyard with other birds or animals.

Mahtab Ali, a rural jobless person who completed graduation and failed to get a job, is presently owner of a duck farm and now able to manage his family properly. He is an inhabitant of Talanda village.

While talking to the newsman Ali, owner of the farm, said even five years ago, the income of his father, a poor farmer, was not enough to meet even the basic needs of their family.

However, he was committed to doing something positive to change the lot of his family. Therefore, he took a short training course from Rajshahi Youth Development Training Center in 2008, and set up a duck farm adjacent to his house.

Some poor fishermen families took loan from NGOs and started duck farming at their houses.

The Department of Animal Resources also came forward to assist them by supplying improved, hybrid variety of ducklings.

Dr Jalal Uddin Sarder, Prof of Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science of Rajshahi University, said women, particularly the
housewives, are mostly involved in rearing ducks of indigenous species.

Ducks need less expensive, simple and non-elaborate housing facilities resulting in very less cost for setting up commercial duck farming business. They are very hardy bird and they need less care or management.

They can adopt themselves with almost all types of environmental conditions. The ducks are mostly fed home-made feed in addition to what they are deriving from scavenging facilities.

Most of the farmers provided rice polish, boiled rice and broken rice as supplementary feed ingredients to ducks either singly or in combination.

High price and scarcity of feed during dry season were the major constraints affecting duck production. Use of natural feed resources in an
increasing manner may help overcoming the feed problem.

Regular vaccination and the use of cost-effective balanced diets can have a decisive effect on duck rearing. As a whole, there are great potentials for an improvement of native duck production in the region by means of nutritional and management engineering, Prof Jalal Sarder added.

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