Sheep farming in the fast lane choicest option

Kathmandu, August 20:

Going commercial would be the best option for sheep farmers in Jumla, Dolpa, Mustang and Humla to boost their livelihood and also help carpet-makers and exporters in the country get competitive prices both at home and globally while maintaining quality of their products.

Enhancing Nepal’s Trade Related Capacity (ENTReC), a UNDP-supported project under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies recently conducted a workshop in Jumla to urge sheep farmers to go commercial to gett better prices, meet demand for quality wool and reduce import substitution.

Partner organisations Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) and the District Livestock

Service Office, Jumla, supported the workshop on ‘Sheep and Wool Production Potential in the context of WTO’.

On the occasion, experts said Nepal imports wool from New Zealand and Tibet for making carpets and exports these to earn foreign exchange. “If sheep farmers were encouraged

‘technically and financially’ to go commercial there would be no need to import quality wool,” they said.

Dr Chet Raj Uprety, principal scientist at Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) pointed out that the whole of Karnali zone had tremendous potential for commercial sheep farming in view of the road link between Surkhet and Jumla. Dr Uprety said, “Farmers should be encouraged to go commercial so as to produce better quality wool and get better prices. For this, they need technical and financial support.” At the workshop, he also demonstrated how to shear a sheep.

Speaking on the occasion, Central Woollen Yarn Industry Association (CWYIA) general secretary Gopal Gurung assured for buying wool from Jumla’s sheep farmers if they maintained quality.

Urging Karnali zone sheep farmers to discard traditional ways, go modern and commercial for getting better prices and improving their living standard, he said that the sooner they did so the better it would be for them.

TEPC deputy director Dilip Aryal presented a paper on ‘Sheep Farming, Wool Production and Potential Market’ and stressed on increasing export items. He pointed out that it was essential to ensure a steady supply of quality wool and its availaibility at the local level so that exporters

could compete globally.

Fifteen sheep farmers who attended the workshop said in unison that even a little bit of support extended by UNDP would make a big difference in the lives of Karnali people.

Issues discussed at the workshop included wool production, primary processing, quality control, diversified woollen products, wholesale and retail buyers’ satisfaction, transportation of raw material and finished products, sheep breeding, feeding and management.

Jumla CDO Bala Bahadur Malla lauded UNDP’s bid to enhance the livelihood of Karnali zone sheep farmers and help in market management.