Nepal | October 21, 2020

Yak farmers urge preservation, promotion of yak farming

Himalayan News Service
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Yak farmers have stressed on the need to preserve and promote yak farming in the country.

Forming the Yak and Chauri Association of Nepal (YCAN) on October 8, the farmers have urged the Solukhumbu local government to preserve and promote yak farming in the country.

Stating that Nepal’s animal husbandry sector is shrinking of late, Pemba Sherpa, general secretary of YCAN, said, “Therefore, the bitter reality that the animal husbandry sector has remained merely a source of income rather than a profession of choice is clear to us.”

Explaining that the association was formed to bridge the existing gap between the government and yak farmers, he added, “Despite its immense potential, yak farming has largely been overlooked by the government and no action has been taken for its preservation.”

The association has also urged the central and local governments to bring policies to attract farmers to this sector.

“Due to lack of market, people have abandoned this profession and most people from the hilly region have migrated abroad,” Sherpa said, “Hence, the government has to introduce policies to attract farmers to this industry.”

Yak milk products of Nepal are quite famous in foreign countries. However, the production is so little that large scale demands are not being fulfilled. Thus, there is a need to revive yak farming, Sherpa opined.

The association is also planning to submit a memorandum to the local governments of the hilly region and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development very soon.

As per the association, currently there are around 5,000 households engaged in yak farming but production is very low. Yak farming has declined by 90 per cent over the last one decade and people are gradually getting more attracted in going abroad.

Cheese is the most famous yak milk product. However, the production of yak cheese has declined by almost 50 per cent over the past three decades. As per the association, three decades ago, Nepal used to produce more than 100 tonnes of yak cheese annually.

But the annual production has come down to 55 tonnes at the moment and is likely to decline further in the years to come. The production of yak milk products dropped after 1980, as yak farming declined.

A version of this article appears in print on October 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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