Life in rural China is difficult. Most families own and operate farms where they grow beets, corn and yams. The days are long and exhausting. The average crop yield only produces enough to provide basic necessities. There is no modern farm equipment. Extreme drought threatens to push families deeper into poverty every year. It’s a grueling lifestyle, but there’s hope. A low maintenance, sustainable alternative is emerging.
Hope From a Surprising Source
The answer isn’t obvious at first: goats. Around the world, people use goats for breeding, dairy, meat, wool and even as show animals. In China, goat meat’s popularity is on the rise and breeding goats is a money maker for farmers. Goats are also low-maintenance compared to fields of corn.
The difference is drastic for both time and income. It’s common for farmers to work six days a week in their fields, but goats need less than a third of that time. A farmer earns about $60 a month, but breeding goats brings $360 in the same time.
An extra $300 a month doesn’t sound like a lot of money for most people, but it’s all the difference in the world to a rural Chinese family. Goats are the difference between poverty ($2/day) and hope for the future.
Goats Mean a Brighter Future
Many farmers face the agonizing decision of staying with their families or moving to the city alone in search of higher income. With goats to raise and sell, families stay together. Goats save marriages and allow children to grow up with hope for the future.
The only obstacle in the way of rural farmers moving from crops to goats is the initial investment. Families just need an initial investment to buy goats and make the transition. Goats only cost $116, and 10 pairs (about $2,300) are all a family needs to sustain income. With just a small gift, you can make a huge impact.