KATHMANDU: The government has prepared a 20-year strategy for the commercial development of animal husbandry and dairy products.
The strategy is prepared by the National Dairy Development Board. It gives high priority to the sustainable development of the agriculture and dairy sectors by making the grassroots farmers economically and professionally strong.
It is believed that the strategy will contribute to raising the living standards of the marginal farmers and to the expansion of the agriculture economy. The strategy will be presented to the Ministry of Agriculture Development within mid-December for its implementation.
The government’s strategy paper gives priority to topics like resolving the problem related to milk holiday, establishment of resource centres for breeding improved breeds of cows and buffaloes at least in the five development regions, taking care of calves and production of hybrid breeds of milch animals and providing concessional loans or grant to very poor farmers for purchasing a cow or a buffalo.
An eight-member strategy preparation task force constituted under the convenorship of Board Director, Babukaji Panta, and comprising experts from the related sectors has expedited works for executing the strategy within the deadline
Executive Director Panta said the strategy is focused on resolving the problems faced by the dairy farmers, establishing chilling centres in places where electricity is available, analyzing the risks associated with the dairy industry, implementing the animal insurance scheme, guaranteeing the quality of milk and milk products, certification, monitoring and enhancing the technical capacity.
Panta expressed the belief that the strategy will add a new dimension to the development of dairy industry in the country. He added that the strategy has spelled out strategies for the commercial development of animal husbandry, animal health, technical aspects and pasture development.
The dairy sector contributes nine percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
First Vice-president of Nepal Dairy Association, Sumit Kedia, stressed that the state should give priority to this sector in its overall agriculture policy. He said the government should provide special incentives to the dairy farmers and the dairy industry.
Kedia is also confident that a lot could be done for the development of this industry through the private-public partnership. He sees the need of extensive reforms at the level of dairy farmers, industries and market for that.
Besides the government-owned Dairy Development Corporation (DDC), other dairies run in the private sector include the Sitaram Gokul Milks, Chitwan Milks and Sujal Dairy, each with a capacity of producing 100,000 litres of milk per day. Similarly, the Himalaya Dairy, Modern Dairy and Anmol Dairy operated by private sector have production capacity of 50,000 litres per day.
It is stated that the private sector dairies have invested at least three billion rupees. They are providing direct or indirect employment to nearly one thousand people.
Executive Director Panta said that the Ministry of Finance has been requested in writing to provide subsidy in VAT, tax and electricity tariff to the dairy industries.
The daily demand for milk in the country is 1.5 million litres and 1.1 million litres is consumed. There is shortfall of 400,000 litres of milk daily. More than 2,000 small dairy farmers and 1,750 dairy cooperatives have been meeting this demand. Five thousand people are directly employed in this trade, it is learnt. RSS