By Vilasini Roy
TO THOSE who caught sight of the advertisement, and saw what it offered, it looked like a meal ticket for life. Investors were urged to put their money in goat farming, and assured that it would double in just three years. Adding meat to the offer was the promise of an additional monthly return of 2 percent.
Manish Khurana, CEO of Gurgaon-based Beetal Livestock and Farm, which put out the ad, explains how to get on the gravy train. “We have over 3,500 goats at our farms in Sohna and Bikaner,” he says. “A minimum investment of Rs.6,000 makes you the owner of a goat, which the company looks after. The goat is also covered by a government-owned insurance company.”
But not everybody is buying into it. Financial planner Gaurav Mushruwala is one such sceptic. “If a scheme sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he says, implying a scam. That may or may not be, as goat farms are sprouting all over the country. India after all has the world’s second largest population of goats — 124.36 million in the last count from 2003, made available by the Animal Husbandry Department.
Goat rearing makes sense for several reasons: it requires minimal initial investment; goats are easy to rear and inexpensive to maintain; ten goats can be had for the price of a cow; the animals graze on land that is not suitable for farming or rearing other livestock; and they have short reproductive cycles, with a gestation period of just around five months, and give birth to between two and four offspring.
Small wonder, then, that the government is so keen to promote goat farming. Yes, Beetal Livestock may be talking sense after all.
Illustration: Vikram Nongmaithem