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Nepal not realising full potential of dairy sector


KATHMANDU, JAN 18 -

Nepal has failed to realise the true potential of the dairy sector due to low milk productivity of the cattle compared to that in India and other developed countries.

According to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), a cow in Nepal produces 432 litres milk annually on an average compared to 1,129 litres in India. A cow in Israel produces the highest 9,405 litres milk on an average annually.

“Genetically, poor breed of the cattle, declining grazing areas and insufficient technical support to improve productivity are the major reasons behind the low productivity,” said experts at a workshop organised to discuss the proposed 20-year Dairy Development Vision (2013-2033). “As a result, Nepal is facing milk deficit despite having adequate animals. This has discouraged low-income farmers.”

There are an estimated 7.2 million cows and 4.6 million buffalos in the country, according to NDDB.

Presenting a paper, Babu Kaji Pant, executive director of NDDB, said besides genetically-poor breed of the cattle and insufficient technical support, inadequate animal service centre also affected milk productivity. “There are only around 1,000 animal service centres. And on top of that, they lack trained manpower and resources,” he said.

Although many dairy producers have started artificial insemination (medical alternative to sexual intercourse) to produce high breed cattle, it is becoming ineffective due to the lack technical services, according to NDDB.

In addition, the dairy sector is suffering from low investment despite high demand. Pant said most of the farmers are rearing less than five cows because they lack access to financial services. “As a result, dairy production has been growing at a sluggish 2.5 percent rate annually although the Agriculture Perspective Plan had targeted increasing production by 7 percent annually,” Pant added.

Currently, the country produces 1.5 million tonnes milk annually. According to NDDB, only 15 percent of the produced milk is sold to dairy producers, while rest is sold in local areas or consumed for household purposes. The proposed vision has planned to increase the sale of milk to the formal sector by 40-50 percent by 2020.

NDDB statistics show small farmers earn a mere Rs 20,000 annually by selling milk. Presently, the dairy sector accounts 9 percent of the country’s GDP. Around 500,000 people are engaged in the sector.

In his paper Pant has suggested solutions to poor genetic potential of indigenous dairy animals, high cost of production, scattered production- higher collection cost, inadequate appropriate insurance policies, diseases and parasites, feed quality and cost and limited trained human resources. The paper has highlighted the immense market for milk and milk products due to increasing population, urbanisation, changing food habits and increasing income level.

 

Posted on: 2013-01-18 09:00