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25 May 2015 | News

Bhutanese farmers learn livestock and vegetable value chain in Nepal

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The Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation (Himalica) programme has been implementing a pilot project in Barshong Geog of Tsirang district in Bhutan. The main purpose of the pilot project is to improve income of target households by promoting climate adaptive practices at each node of two specific value-chains – goats and vegetables.

A 12-day exposure trip, from 15-26 April 2015, was organized for 10 farmers, community members, and government officials to provide learning opportunity and familiarize them with good practices for promoting goat value chain in Nepal. Nepal shares similar topography and climatic conditions as Tsirang district in Bhutan. The visit was facilitated by Lipy Adhikari of ICIMOD with a veterinary officer from the Government of Nepal as a resource person.

Before the field visit, an interaction meeting of the participants was held with the Himalica team at ICIMOD Headquarters followed by a short visit to the Godavari Knowledge Park. The field visit outside the Kathmandu Valley took place from 18-24 of April during which, the team visited Dhading, Bandipur, Pokhara, Syanjha, Palpa, Lumbini, Hetauda, and Kavre. They visited many goat farms (both private and government owned) and vegetable farms, and learnt about the processes, breeds, marketing strategies, and the linkages between the goat and vegetable farms.

The participants also interacted with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Bandipur, and the Department of Livestock Office, Palpa, during which they were taught how to successfully start goat farming keeping in mind preliminary requirements, most successful breeds, suitable environment, disease and vaccination, artificial insemination, cross-breeding, and grass varieties.

Some important lessons learned from the trip was summarized by the participants as follows:

  1. The suitability of the goat breeds depends on specific geographic and climatic conditions.
  2. Khari is the local breed and is considered best for the mid-hills in Nepal. This particular breed is also found in Tsirang.
  3. The cross-breeds from Khari and Jamunapari and Khari and Boer are very common and commercially suitable for Nepal. These breeds may also perform well in Tsirang.
  4. Grass plantation is a prerequisite to start goat farms.
  5. Special attention needs to be given to goat sheds to ensure that it is warm, spacious, and clean.

Normally, goats are less susceptible to diseases unlike chicken and other livestock.

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