Case study 2: BRAC Artificial Insemination programmes

AI worker provides service to a farmer. Credit, BRAC

AI worker provides service to a farmer. Credit, BRAC

In 1987, the charity BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) started working with the Bangladesh Government’s Livestock Department on a vaccination programme that trains para-vets (veterinary assistants) from the local area. The qualified para-vets were then able to earn an income by buying supplies from BRAC and selling veterinary services to the local community. BRAC subsequently launched the Artificial Insemination (AI) programme whereby AI workers provide farmers with access to semen of hybrid cattle breeds that yield more milk, along

In 1987, the charity BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) started working with the Government of Bangladesh’s Livestock Department on a vaccination programme that trains para-vets (veterinary assistants) from rural communities who will then serve farmers in their local area.[1] In 2000, the BRAC Bull and Buck Station in Mymensingh, central Bangladesh, started producing frozen semen from high-quality breeds as part of their Artificial Insemination (AI) programme. The programme trained para-vet entrepreneurs in AI techniques, so they can provide farmers with access to semen of hybrid cattle breeds that yield more milk, along with training on how to care for their livestock. They are also offered access to loans, quality supplies, on-going supervision and refresher training, so that the entrepreneurs can successfully provide services that help support rural farmers.

By 2014 the AI programme employed about 60 staff and has trained more than 2,200 AI entrepreneurs who charge local farmers BDT 180-200 (US $2-$2.5) per cow for the service. In addition to producing more milk, local cow breeds sell for BDT 16,000 (US $204) while the high quality breeds can sell for BDT 100,000 (US $1275). More than 1,400,000 cattle were successfully inseminated in 2014.[2] One dairy farmer, Marium, now owns 7 cows and several calves, all of which are from artificial insemination. She says of her milk that “now… we get the best possible price. The BRAC AI worker helps us look after our cows.”[3]

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