Animal production systems of small farms in the Kaski district of Nepal
Redding, L.; Chetri, D.K.; Lamichhane, D.K.; Chay, Y.; Aldinger, L.; Ferguson, J.
Tropical Animal Health and Production 44(7): 1605-1613
ISSN/ISBN: 1573-7438 PMID: 22392548 DOI: 10.1007/s11250-012-0114-4
The aim of this study was to describe animal production on small farms in the Kaski district of Nepal, with the goal of identifying areas where animal health and productivity could be improved. Eighty-five randomly selected farms from four different Village Development Committees were visited. Farmers were interviewed and premises and animals visually inspected on all farms. Feed samples were collected from a subset of farms. The most commonly kept species were water buffalo (used for milk and meat), cattle (used for milk and labor), and goats (used for meat). Average milk production levels were 4.7 kg/day for water buffalo and 1.9 kg/day for cattle. All animals were milked manually, no calves were weaned, and only one farm practiced artificial insemination. A majority of cattle and goats had access to pasture, and a majority of farms fed their working or producing animals concentrates; however, nutritional input was insufficient in terms of energy, protein, and micronutrient content to increase levels of production. Goat-raising was the most profitable endeavor, followed by water buffalo and cattle. We conclude that animals have the potential to contribute significantly to improved livelihoods of farmers in terms of both income generation and non-tangible benefits. However, we found that significant constraints on animal production exist, including insufficient nutritional levels and a lack of preventative care resulting in animal disease. Furthermore, cultural considerations reflecting attitudes toward cattle shape farming in ways that may limit production. Nevertheless, targeted interventions that improve animal health and productivity are possible without being cost prohibitive.