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Strengthening Farmers’ Knowledge on “Animal Nutrition and Health Care for Improving Dairy Production” in the Kangchenjunga Landscape, India

Because of the decline in crop farming due to human-wildlife conflict, commercial dairy farming has emerged as one of the viable livelihood options in Ribdi, in West Sikkim, India, one of the pilot sites of the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative. In the 20-year strategy for the landscape, diversifying livelihood options through improved dairy farming has, through a rigorous participatory process, been prioritised as a key intervention area.

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Ribdi dairy development framework

From 16-18 November 2017, around 50 dairy farmers from Ribdi-Gorkhey, India, convened in Ribdi for a three-day hands-on training and exposure visit on “Animal Nutrition and Health Care for Improving Dairy Production.” The training was organized with support from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) by the G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development (GBPNIHESD), Sikkim Unit, in collaboration with The Mountain Institute (TMI) in India, Gangtok; the Diocesan Integrated society for Holistic Action (DISHA), Kalimpong; and the Department of Animal Husbandry, Livestock and Fisheries, Government of Sikkim. The training aimed to strengthen the participants’ knowledge of dairy farming and expose them to experiences of successful practices at the local level.

Over the three days, participants received training in several facets of dairy farming, including animal nutrition and feeding practices, healthcare and medication, as well as livestock management and dairy entrepreneurship. The training was conducted by experts from DISHA, TMI, and ICIMOD and comprised theoretical sessions as well as practical demonstrations and field observations in selected progressive dairy farms.

During the training, a discussion was also held on the conceptual framework for dairy development in Ribdi. This exercise broadened development perspectives about the dairy interventions in the landscape. Participants and local village leaders commended the training for boosting their confidence in sustainable dairy farming and entrepreneurship.

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