Empowering women through sustainable wildlife management: Flora Gomes’ story – CIFOR Forests News

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Flora Gomes along with her husband Patrick Gomes get ready to feed the chickens before locking them in their pen. ©FAO/Luke McKenna

In the Rupununi Region of southwest Guyana, 59-year-old Flora Gomes is becoming a renowned poultry farmer – with important implications for local diets and incomes, as well as for wildlife conservation.

Last year, the resident of St Ignatius Village took part in a poultry competition run by the Rupununi Livestock Producers Association (RLPA), a local organization supported by the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme in Guyana, which aims to improve wildlife conservation and food security. Through the competition, households and small poultry farmers assessed weight gain in small flocks of local breeds, using a range of local feeds.

The winners – which included Gomes – received a small start-up poultry farming package. As a result, Gomes was inspired to start rearing poultry to produce eggs for her family. “I started with the intention of just feeding my family, as we have always preferred locally produced eggs: they’re much healthier – you can see and taste the difference,” she said. Her flock surpassed her expectations, and she began selling excess eggs in her village. Now, she’s hoping to expand into selling chicken meat, too.