In the United States, small farms mean organic, artisanal, or quaint. They mean homemade jam or hand-baked pies. In other countries, such as Pakistan or Yemen, small family farms mean a resignation to a life of poverty.
Many agrarian families in these countries are forced to a live of poverty by birth. Without a stable source of income, their children and their children’s children will live as they do: unsure of whether that year’s crop will make it to harvest due to the unpredictable changes in climate. Small farms (i.e. those that do not exceed 12.5 acres) constitute 93.12 percent of total farms in Pakistan, with 67.5 percent of the population being directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for income 1.
The majority of those who live in agrarian communities are undernourished. The fact that many communities have been negatively affected by recent natural disasters, such as floods that have devastated farmland, has only compounded the crisis. In 2010, severe floods affected 1.6 million square kilometers of land and over 20 million people 2. Climate change is currently making Pakistan very vulnerable, as their status as a developing country is dependent on agricultural output. If the climate varies too drastically, in terms of temperature or drought, crops could be destroyed and farms bankrupted. For agrarian families, such an impact to subsistence farming can extend poverty beyond their lifetime.
However, a small family of goats can change that. 56% of agricultural revenue in Pakistan can be attributed to livestock farming1. Our Income Generation & Livelihood program aims to provide a small herd of resilient livestock to agrarian families so they can protect themselves against unmanageable environmental conditions. For these families, goats mean milk, cheese, and wool. In short, goats mean income. This income can be used to end the systemic cycle of poverty these families face as, over the years, three goats turn into a plentiful herd.
You can help rural subsistence farmers end the cycle of poverty by donating today. A small flock of livestock means not only a better future for these farmers, but also a better future for their children and future generations to come.
In a time when many interests remain insular, take time to think about how you can help build sustainable communities and what impact your donations can make. We have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in need and recognizing that is the first step towards creating meaningful, lasting change.
1. Adil, Sultan Ali, Hammad Badar, and Tariq Sher. "Factors Affecting Gross Income of Small Farmers in District Jhang-Pakistan." Pakistan Journal of Life and Social Sciences 2 (2004): 153-55. Web.
2. Hanif, Uzma, Shabib Haider, Rafique Ahmad, and Kauser Abdullah Malik. "Economic Impact of Climate Change on the Agricultural Sector of Punjab." The Pakistan Development Review 2 (2010): 771-98. Web.