Empowering women through sustainable wildlife management: Flora Gomes’ story

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

In the Rupununi region of southwestern Guyana, 59-year-old Flora Gomes is becoming a renowned poultry farmer – with important implications for local nutrition and income, as well as for wildlife conservation.

Last year, the resident of St. Ignatius village took part in a poultry competition organized by the Rupununi Livestock Producers Association (RLPA), a local organization supported by Guyana’s Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) program that aims to improve wildlife conservation and nutrition improve security. Through the competition, households and small poultry farmers evaluated weight gain in small flocks of local breeds using a range of local feeds.

The winners – including Gomes – received a small starter kit for poultry farming. As a result, Gomes was inspired to start raising poultry to produce eggs for her family. “I started out with the intention of just feeding my family, as we’ve always preferred locally sourced eggs: they’re much healthier – you can see and taste the difference,” she said. Her flock exceeded her expectations and she began selling surplus eggs in her village. Now she hopes to expand into selling chicken as well.