Running dairy farms in the hilly Northeastern state of Assam is an ardous job. The poor the farmer, higher up is his farm on the uneven hilly terrain. Adding to the woes of most of these migrant farmers are poverty, unhygienic conditions and lack of veterinary services, making them vulnerable also to zoonotic infections. The photo essay captures the grim reality of these dairy farms in the peri-urban areas of Guwahati city.

Making the Connect: Small Holder Dairy Farming and the Risk of Zoonoses
  • Tranquil yes, but a hard life nonetheless for residents with limited resources and skillsTranquil yes, but a hard life nonetheless for residents with limited resources and skills
  • A small dairy farm that is within the boundary of the householdA small dairy farm that is within the boundary of the household
  • Many small scale industries thrive in peri urban spaces illegallyMany small scale industries thrive in peri urban spaces illegally
  • Growing vegetables and flowers is also undertaken commercially by some of the peri urban farmersGrowing vegetables and flowers is also undertaken commercially by some of the peri urban farmers
  • Managing the dairy farm that is located on an uneven hillock has its challenges especially related to collecting fodder from the nearby forestManaging the dairy farm that is located on an uneven hillock has its challenges especially related to collecting fodder from the nearby forest
  • Uneven terrain adds to the hardship of the dairy farmers. Poorer the farmer, higher up on the hill he buys his hut since that is cheaper but greater is his ordeal since he has to make multiple trips up and downUneven terrain adds to the hardship of the dairy farmers. Poorer the farmer, higher up on the hill he buys his hut since that is cheaper but greater is his ordeal since he has to make multiple trips up and down
  • Unhygienic conditions and close proximity to animals increases health risks for both animals and humans. Residents in these farms are unaware of zoonotic diseasesUnhygienic conditions and close proximity to animals increases health risks for both animals and humans. Residents in these farms are unaware of zoonotic diseases
  • Peri urban dairy farmers handing over their evening's milk collection to the middleman who will sell it further to the cooperatives, households and small hotels in the cityPeri urban dairy farmers handing over their evening's milk collection to the middleman who will sell it further to the cooperatives, households and small hotels in the city
  • Milk being loaded and ready to be taken to customers. Most of the dairy farmers  sell to a third party.Milk being loaded and ready to be taken to customers. Most of the dairy farmers sell to a third party.
  • A prosperous dairy farmer having 25 cows and buffalos. His children go to an English medium school. Originally from Nepal, his family has been in Assam for 30 years. He says had he studied he would not have been doing this business.A prosperous dairy farmer having 25 cows and buffalos. His children go to an English medium school. Originally from Nepal, his family has been in Assam for 30 years. He says had he studied he would not have been doing this business.
  • Data collection team on a site visit in GuwahatiData collection team on a site visit in Guwahati
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