Loss of pasture land, lack of vets worrying yak farmers

Panchthar, December 10

Lack of grazing fields and medicine to cure ailments inflicting yaks is giving farmers in the highlands of Panchthar, Ilam and Taplejung a hard time.

According to yak farmer Birkhaman Rai of Falelung Rural Municipality, Panchthar, yaks suffer from fever once a year. Due to lack of veterinary doctors in their area, around seven to 10 yaks die every season, Rai lamented.

Farmers had devised a plan to insure yaks in a bid to minimise loss, but insurance companies were apathetic.

Although there is a national park, yak grazing has been banned on the Indian side bordering Falelung and Yangbarak in Panchthar; Mai Jogmai and Sandakpur in Ilam; and Siding in Taplejung.

Farmers are having a hard time as yaks do not have sufficient pasture land when they graze on the Nepali side. Farmers have been compelled to quit yak farming as they have to pay Rs 11,000  fine if a yak enters the Indian side.

Panchthar and Taplejung had around 1,000 yaks 15 years ago. But, the number has gone down to 500 at present.