Policy Workshop on Goat Sub-Sector Conducted in Collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock Development
Heifer International Nepal in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock Development (MoLD) conducted a policy workshop on goat sub-sector in Nepal. This workshop was attended by representatives from the Government of Nepal, Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), private sector entrepreneurs in goat sub-sector, bank and financial institutions, producer cooperatives, bi and multi-lateral institutions, media and experts from various professions. This workshop shared the major findings and recommendations of “Policy Study on Goat Sub-Sector in Nepal” conducted jointly by Heifer Nepal and MoLD, and aimed to outline and prioritize issues to address at different level.
Goat is an important commodity of national economic significance but is still facing various challenges in order to transform itself into an income generation tool for smallholder farmers and as a means of economic transformation to the nation. Majority of the goat meat consumed in Nepal finds its way from neighboring countries and Heifer has been working diligently with the smallholder female farmers to substitute this import by training them to become qualified goat entrepreneurs. The goat productivity has increased from 1.54 in 2012 to 2.4 in 2017 in Heifer project sites, this data dismisses the long held notion that the genetic capacity of the indigenous herd of Nepal is not sufficient for increased productivity, rather what is necessary is good management practices. While the government of Nepal has many policies regarding agriculture, there lacks a policy that focuses on goat meat value chain which has the capability of uplifting poor families and changing the face of a nation that is gripping with poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, gender inequality, social isolation and so on. A total of 90% of all goat meat produced in Nepal comes through the farms of the smallholders, who depend on a small number of livestock and small piece of land to make their ends meet. Heifer Nepal with its 20 years of experience in livestock has been engaging smallholders in goat value chain enterprises and has been using the cooperatives as business hubs that provide access functions in various aspects such as finance, services, insurance and market.
Dr. Keshav Prasad Premi, Joint Secretary of MoLD insisted on the need to create an enabling environment for goat and other agricultural value chains. He highlighted the scope of employment and income for the Nepalese youth in goat enterprise who have been trying to go-to foreign nations in search of job opportunities. He mentioned how Nepal has achieved self-reliance in eggs and is trying hard to achieve reliance in meat as well. Dr. Premi further stated that the policy study plays a vital role in order to understand the where, what and why of slow pace of development, and to overcome the challenges, obstacles and the market gap and move ahead in this sector.
The presentations on “Heifer’s Experiences in Goat Value Chain” by Neena Joshi, Director of Programs of Heifer Nepal and “Overview, Methodology, Key Findings and Recommendations” by the Consultant were followed by the lively discussion in plenary session with pro-active participation by all participants including private sector value chain actors, cooperatives, government and development stakeholders.
Dr. Bimal Kumar Nirmal, Director General of Department of Livestock Services talked about Nepal achieving food and nutrition security in the years to come and goat industry can pave the way to achieving this goal. He stressed the need to control imports and strengthen and promote local products. He emphasized the need to reduce the middle man approach and lower the gap between producer to consumer. He also brought to attention the importance of collaboration with the forestry department and hoped to work in close collaboration with Heifer in the development of the small holding families and the goat value chain in Nepal.
Dr. Bishwa Nath Oli, Secretary of MoLD mentioned how goat is preferred by all members of the society, irrespective of caste, ethnicity and religion thus making it a suitable means of nutrition as well as income. Dr. Oli stressed the need to review and update existing policies and act at the opportunity at hand. He mentioned as to how budget that has been allocated for livestock hasn’t been spent while many needy people are in dire conditions and have been ignored by the state.
Dr. Shubh N. Mahato, Country Director of Heifer International Nepal thanked the participants for the valuable suggestions they provided. He has committed to support Ministry of Livestock Development and collaborate with them where needed and hoped that the future policies would help in uplifting the poor small holding farming families.
The event ended with closing remarks from Dr. Mahendra Lohani, Senior Vice President of Programs for Heifer International putting forward his views where he stressed the need of collaboration between government, NGOs/ INGOs and private sector. He thanked all the participating officials of Government of Nepal, private sector and other participants. Dr. Lohani mentioned how livestock can be the answer to reducing not only poverty but also fulfilling nutritional needs to many malnourished children all over the world and also has the capability of uplifting marginalized women who haven’t been included in development strategies. He emphasized the need to help and strengthen the smallholders as they are responsible for the production of majority of food products.