The Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, has launched a goat breeding and rearing micro-credit programme for widows in Gwaram Local Government of the state. The scheme which provides three goats (a male and two female) to a widow will be given to twenty beneficiaries in each of the 287 wards in the 27 Local Government Areas of the state bringing the total of goats to be distributed to more than 17,000. Already 660 goats have been given to 220 beneficiaries in Gwaram Local Government Area.
The term of the loan is eighteen months after which a beneficiary will return the three goats given to her. According to the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources who presented the scheme at the occasion, a goat delivers every six months in twos, three or more. Therefore a beneficiary is sure of at least twelve kids at the end the 18 months term of the loan. More than five thousand widows will benefit yearly from the returns of the beneficiaries.
Presenting the goats to a sample of beneficiaries, which included a blind widow Malama Binta Abdullahi, the Governor said the scheme is part of his promise to create employment in the state and agriculture is the best means of job creation in a state where more than 80% of the people are involved in agricultural production. He said the scheme differs from the previous ones because of its sustainability as “if you train 10 youth in Gwaram for tailoring or carpentry and give them tools for such trade, there would not be market for them in this rural setting. They will add to the existing number of tailors or carpenters that are not fully engaged by the available business their skills offered. At the end of the day the youth would sell the tools are return to square one.” The Governor said.
The Governor also said there is a corn-stalk shredding and grinding machine to be provided for each ward. The loan beneficiaries will trade the manure of their goats with farmers who will give them corn stalk for grinding which is a by-product of their crops. The grinded stalk will be used in feeding the goats that would be stationed at a place instead of roaming about losing their droppings. Their being kept at a place would also enhance their sizes, productivity and enriched their droppings with urea from their urine, which improves soil fertility.
In a related development, the governor visited Gwaram town hospital which is in a very sorry situation with blown off roofs and little equipment. He promised immediate repairs as well as upgrading it to a General Hospital as soon as possible, bearing in mind the size of the town and its surrounding villages.