Heifer International Nepal Launches Project to Strengthen Smallholder Enterprises of Livestock Value Chain
May 9, Kathmandu, Nepal: Heifer International Nepal launched the second phase of its flagship project Strengthening Livestock Enterprises in Livestock Value Chain (SLVC II). The event saw the presence of dignitaries including representatives from the Government of Nepal, bi and multilateral donors, INGOs, universities, farmers, bank and financial institutions, media and Heifer staff. The SLVC II project will benefit 125,000 families directly and 350,000 families indirectly. With a budget of USD 25.6 million, SLVC II will cover 31 districts and aims at increasing the annual household income of beneficiary families to NPR 557,000 which is an increase of 72%.
The event was chaired by Dr. Mahendra Nath Lohani, Sr. Vice President of Programs, Heifer International and Hon. Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security Mr. Gokarna Bista was the chief guest.
Dr. Shubh Mahato, Country Director of Heifer International Nepal (HIN) welcomed all the participants to the project launch event and highlighted the objective of the event. Ms. Neena Joshi, Director of Programs of HIN gave a brief presentation of SLVC II project which was followed by question and answer session with valuable inputs from the participants. The collaborators of the project – producer cooperative, meat and dairy entrepreneurs and Department of Livestock Services expressed their commitment to work together in the project.
Dr. Yubak Dhoj GC, Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperative (MoALMC) praised Heifer for its work in social and economic sector and thanked Heifer for spreading the knowledge of improved livestock in many areas of Nepal. Dr. GC pointed out how the farmers who were easily lured into many traps earlier now have become smart and knowledgeable these days. He further added, “there is a need of moving to a more market oriented production and Heifer model works perfectly in Nepal where the smallholder farmers are scattered. It is crucial to bring farmers together and link them with end markets so that they can operate in a risk free environment”.
Similar were the words of Mr. Prakash Mathema, Secretary, MoALMC. He highlighted the importance of livestock to the Nepalese farmers and how it is a sector of comparative advantage. He spoke about the importance of livestock in Nepal and how it will help us to achieve adequate income, nutrition, food security and reduce poverty. He praised Heifer on the previous work that they have been doing in livestock sector and promised to provide guidance and help in the days to come.
Hon. Minister Bista mentioned the fact that with the unique geographic position that Nepal holds, Nepal has great potential as well as challenges to prosper in Livestock Department. He added, “projects such as SLVC II are a source of economic development, employment and a means to bring prosperity in a country such as Nepal, it is a method to raise the standard of living amongst people and reduce the rate of poverty. When producers of Goat meat have both forward and backward linkages, only then the true potential of goat market can be really seen”. He praised Heifer for the wonderful work that they have been putting in Nepal for past 20 years and recalled the moment when he himself had a talk with the beneficiaries of Heifer project in Nepal. He admired Heifers work in the field of social capital development and said that such a work cannot be measured in any monetary terms. He congratulated Heifer on its success till now and hoped for the same in future.
The program ended with closing remarks from Dr. Mahendra Nath Lohani, Sr. Vice President of Programs of Heifer International. Dr. Lohani mentioned that the achievement and success of Heifer goes to motivation and support from all the partners and collaborators including Government of Nepal, public/private organizations, I/NGOs, banks and financial institutions, local level stakeholders and farmers. He expressed his sincere thanks to all the participants for their enthusiastic participation in the event.