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Sustainable Rural Livelihoods - Leveraging Traditional Pract

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Backyard Poultry is a wide-spread, women-centric traditional activity across an estimated 30 million rural poor households in India. Its non-remunerative character coupled with irrelevance of the Industrial Poultry Production Model for the rural sector, propelled Keggfarms to go back to the drawing board. The aim was to device a pro-poor, rural-specific business model, which could potentially convert poorly remunerative traditional poultry keeping into a significant and sustainable livelihoods opportunity.

In the 90’s,Keggfarms developed KUROILER - a low-input, high-yielding village specific poultry stock which feeds on household ,agricultural and natural waste and achieves almost 4 times higher production both in terms of Eggs & Meat than non-descript poultry stock . Additionally, an innovative multi-layer marketing and distribution system was conceived and successfully established to reach these birds to village households at the very bottom of the pyramid.

Today, this model provides Livelihood Opportunities to close to 5000 micro-entrepreneurs that form a part of its distribution channel. It reaches almost one million rural households across 13 states and generates an income of INR 450 million, primarily from no cost natural agriculture and household waste. This additional income has improved the financial status of the rural women and provided significant inputs for family education, health and welfare. KUROILERS are like piggy banks which can be exchanged for money. Ready availability of eggs and chicken meat, for which the poor population is otherwise dependent on costly retail outlets, significantly addresses nutritional deficiency issues. Additionally, being raised humanely in open range, KUROILERS put no pressure on the environment.

A relevant product (KUROILER) which is better performing in the hostile village environment with virtually zero input cost, activating movement by developing a distribution model that helps reach the householders’ doorstep in remotest villages and in smallest numbers, voluntary inter-dependence of all stakeholders, deep passion and commitment to make a difference along with sustaining team morale have been the key success factors for this model.

In implementing this, a significant challenge was to understand the reasons for the failure of countless earlier schemes sponsored by the Government and International Development Agencies.We realised that each of them sought to introduce some kind of watered down model of Industrial Poultry into the village environment, which was outside the pale of rural ground reality. Therefore, Keggfarms created a bird which was in line with the practices, values, attitudes and capabilities of traditional rural population.Equally important was the challenge of devising a marketing and delivery system, which enables delivery to the doorstep. This was achieved by adapting the traditional practice of village vending to be extended to KUROLERS and creation of Mother Units in locations which were practical to reach both from the centres of Keggfarms production and were accessible to the vendors.That there was not only no successful precedent heightened the inherent risk. No less, the resource limitations of Keggfarms were a significant constraint.

This story is a significant example of sustainable, responsible business practices through the deep commitment of a social enterprise. For more details please log on to


Author Bio:

Mr Vipin Malhotra is the Chief Executive Officer at Keggfarms Pvt. Ltd. which is one of the oldest poultry breeding organizations of India established in 1967. It is best known for pioneering genetic breeding of poultry stocks in India and is dedicated towards the development of rural specific poultry stock branded 'Kuroiler'.

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