Motivating the Farmers towards Sustainable Dairy Production
With the boundless projects in the East, particularly the CARLEP, dedicating resources for dairy development at the grass root level (Pro-poor farmers), Lhuentse Dzongkhag’s goal for self-sufficiency in dairy products can be achieved. The one greater scope and sustainability in boosting green livestock farming is to heighten dairy development through rearing improved cattle breed.
Lhuentse imported 20 heads of Jersey cow from West Bengal, India in April, 2017 . The jersey cows were distributed to farmers on cost sharing basis (70:30). CARLEP supported 30% subsidy with an approximate fund of Nu. 0.5 Million, whereby 70% of the cost was borne by the individual farmers through loans from Bhutan Development Banks Limited (BDBL). Once the cattle reached at quarantine station, lucky draw system was conducted for fair and smooth distribution of cow to the farmers.
The core objectives of importing Jersey cow were to improve dairy breed, and thereby to increase milk production, enhance rural likelihood and motivate farmers to work together and reduce rural inequality.
Besides providing subsidy, CARLEP also provided support for construction materials such as CGI sheets, ridging and cement for constructing hygienic cattle shed with silo-pit facility. Few farmers were trained on scientific dairy management practices. The Gewog Livestock Sector in collaboration with Dzongkhag Livestock Sector is planning to provide training on dairy farming to the group members.
Outsourcing of dairy cattle from outside the country is challenging task due to so many procedures incurred including searching and selecting of quality breed, disease free cow, cattle stationing at quarantine and so on. Despite providing a several technical backstopping to the farmers, they are facing hardship in managing hybrid cattle at the farm level due to shortage of feed resources and high price of commercial formulated feeds. Thus, it is highly recommended to have plans for production of hybrid cattle within the country for sustainable dairy farming.
-Reported by Phurpa Tshering (Asst. Dzongkhag Livestock Officer), Photography by Tshegay Nobu (Livestock Production Officer), Lhuentse.