Although several native and crossbreed cattle populations exist in Bangladesh, their poor health and reproduction traits hardly meet the nutritional requirement of the country. The present study was carried out to develop a socio-economic model for elevating the socio-economic status of poor farmers by rearing Red Chittagong Cattle, a dual-purpose, indigenous cattle. First, a model was developed by a team of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute which hypothesized that rearing two RCC cattle, one for calf and milk production and another for beef production will enhance the socioeconomic conditions if they are supported with appropriate training and vaccination. A total of 150 farmers were selected from 4 Upazilas and the model was introduced to the farmers and subsequently, the model was implemented. The farmers were provided cattle, training, health care support including regular vaccination, high-yield grass and free fodder-cutting facilities. After the project intervention, the willingness of farmers for cattle rearing for both types that are milk production and beef fattening increased from 20.70% to 22.50%. Moreover, the socio-economic status of the respondents improved significantly. The average annual income of the household increased from 1,03,900 Tk to 1,36,133.15 Tk (31% increase) after the model was applied. Although the family expenditure was lower before implementing this approach, it climbed after the project intervention, along with annual savings. Farmers were more motivated to raise RCC and conserve them in situ as a potential genetic resource when family savings had increased. Considering the benefits of rearing RCC, this model would be suitable for improving the socio-economic conditions of the smallholders and rural farmers of Bangladesh. Moreover, conserving RCC will help in future research on indigenous cattle genetic resources.
Key words: Bangladesh; Livelihood improvement model; Red Chittagong Cattle; Rural farmers; up-scaling livelihood.