Exploring barriers to improved farriery services in India
Farriery is an important component of healthcare services for working equids in India. However, they are difficult systems to influence, consisting of informal workers with no professional regulation.
Brooke India, has undertaken many activities aiming to improve farriery services, including technical training, community education and value chain subsidy. However, these interventions have met with varying success. The study aimed to identify limiting factors that prevent farriers providing quality farriery services, and how these were different in different operational areas.
Four focus group discussions each with 7-9 farriers from two regions of Uttar Pradesh were conducted in September 2016. These areas were purposively chosen: Meerut had seen the most positive results whereas Muzaffarnagar had seen the most negative. Within each area farriers were grouped according to previous level of engagement with Brooke programmes.
The area that had a higher level of improvement had a higher proportion of farriers with multiple income streams. The engaged farriers considered the farriery work that they undertook more artisanal, and were prepared to turn clients away if they were not prepared to pay for improved services. The main constraints that they identified were associated with a lack of technical knowledge and skill.
Farriers from both groups Muzaffarnagar reported a decrease in business over the last couple of years associated with a reduction in equids used in the nearby brick kilns. This had resulted in increased competition between them, and a reduction in their overall income. Few had any alternative income generating activities, and generally had a negative outlook for the future of farriery work. The technical constraints were considered secondary.
- Future interventions should investigate ways to improve the economic resilience of farriers, for example as blacksmiths or shop owners.
- There are also opportunities to develop a more participatory style of designing and delivering learning programmes to farriers in the region. This information is vital to understand why varying similar interventions achieved varying success, and now future interventions can be tailored to address these needs
Mohite, D. S., Sheikh, C. S., Singh, S., Kalita, J., Williams, S., & Compston, P. C. (2019). Using qualitative methods to explore farrier-related barriers to successful farriery interventions for equine welfare in India. Animals, 9(5), 252.