Ration Balancing Mobile App for Increasing Milk Production
Dairy is an important livestock subsector, as it provides employment and generates income opportunities for thousands of farmers and ensures the flow of money from urban to rural sectors. In many rural areas of Nepal, the productivity of dairy animals is generally low. The most critical factor is inadequate and unbalanced feeding, partly due to lack of adequate knowledge among farmers.
To solve this problem, Heifer Nepal, supported by USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, developed a pilot program for a feeding support mobile app for small-scale farms in three western districts.
With the help of this user-friendly app, farmers can better able to calculate the quantity of feed and fodder/forage required for their dairy animals. The project promoted locally available feed resources at the minimum possible cost to meet the major nutrients required to sustain the level of production.
The app aims to reduce production costs, and increase milk production and farmers' incomes to improve their livelihoods. Throughout the intervention areas, farmers have reported an increase in milk production of up to 15 percent per day, contributing to the national initiative to make the country self-sufficient in dairy.
The government of Nepal has taken ownership of the Ration Balancing Mobile App after seeing the app's progress and potential. Realizing the long-run potential for this app, the government approved 1.5 million Nepalese Rupees, or $15,000 USD, in funds for an annual National Dairy Development Board program to scale up the training and implementation in 15 districts with the involvement of 15 dairy cooperatives.
The government also committed to mobilize 300 technicians nationwide to train farmers to use the tool. With proper implementation of the app, the groups involved expect a positive impact on dairy animal productivity and an increase in the income of farmers.