As part of yak germplasm exchange among the three countries

Staff reporter

Agriculture ministry handed over one young yak breeding bull to the Sikkim government, India and another two to Nepal yesterday in Paro.

The event was carried out as part of the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Strategy and Regional Cooperation Framework and National Highland Development Programme (NHDP).

Delegates from the three countries during the handing-taking ceremony yesterday

Delegates from the three countries during the handing-taking ceremony yesterday

The Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) coordinated by ICIMOD provides a platform for KLCDI member countries (Bhutan, India and Nepal) to cooperate and implement systematic yak breeding bull exchange programme to address the emerging issue of inbreeding and reduced productivity in yak a press release from the livestock department stated.

“Yaks play a significant role in ecosystem management and food security of the highlanders in the Kangchenjunga Landscape covering an area of 25,081 square kilometres of eastern Nepal, Sikkim and West Bengal of India, and western and south-western parts of Bhutan. The culture and economy of yak rearing have connected people for centuries in this landscape.”

The Coordinator for NHDP Towchu Rabgay said that the seasonal movement of herders across the landscape crossing borders was common phenomena that ensured yak breed improvement, fodder availability and facilitated local trade.

“In particular, the transboundary movement of yaks and herders was critical in getting access to good quality yak breeds for maintaining a viable population and sustaining yak production.”

He said that however, restriction in animal movement over the last few decades has isolated the yak populations. “As a consequence, yak populations particularly in the Southern Himalayas of Nepal, Bhutan and India have suffered from inbreeding and reduced productivity.”

As a part of 2020 Action Plan for KLCDI,  the KLCDI partners endorsed the need to urgently support some of the common issues such as exchange of yak breeding bulls to harness the benefits of transboundary cooperation within the purview of Kangchenjunga LCD Strategy and Regional Cooperation Framework.

KLCDI Programme Coordinator for ICIMOD, Dr Nakul Chettri said that through mutual cooperation, the programme benefited from the goodwill and courtesy provided by the government of Bhutan in outsourcing high-quality young yak breeding bulls in support of transboundary cooperation in the Kangchenjunga Landscape.

“Similarly, Bhutan can also access good quality yak bulls from Nepal and India through a systematic exchange programme in the near future.”

Agriculture secretary Rinzin Dorji said that Bhutan was pleased to provide high-quality yak genetic resource that would enhance livelihoods of the yak herding communities in the neighbouring countries.

The bulls were received delegations from the respective countries including farmers who would raise them.