By Yadu Prasad Bhatt,Manang, Sept. 27: Every year, snow leopards attack the calves of yak raised by farmers in Manang. With the increasing frequency of these attacks, priority has been placed on protecting the calves by keeping them inside wire fences.
According to the Veterinary Hospital and Animal Services Expert Centre, they are encouraging the construction of sheds with wire fences using grants dedicated to the protection of yak calves.
Dr. Narayan Kusum, the Chief of the Centre, has stated that the grant for the protection of yak calves is being continued in Manang, which is considered the 'hub' of yaks. This grant is provided due to the ongoing threat of snow leopards attacking and causing damage to the calves.
According to the centre, they expect that providing subsidies and various forms of support to yak herders affected by such damages can help them stay in their professions.
Chief District Officer Suprabha Khanal Dhungel has said that giving top priority to agricultural and animal insurance programmes is crucial for ensuring the professional security of farmers.
Kusum said that protecting yak calves and alleviating the damage caused to farmers is a challenging task. To address this issue, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and Veterinary Hospital and Animal Services Expert Centre is offering alternative technology and support to the farmers.
For the current financial year 2023/2024, a budget of Rs. 20.7 million has been allocated to sustain various programmes aimed at promoting animal husbandry among farmers in this region.
On the capital side, the budget has been earmarked for several purposes, including partitioning the laboratory room and installing wire fences for office and residential areas, planking, and fully furnishing the training hall. It will also cover the purchase of laboratory and dispensary equipment, acquiring a trinocular Olympus camera-equipped microscope, and acquiring furniture, among other items.
At least Rs. 600,000 budget has been allocated for the partition wall in the laboratory room, Rs. 1.8 million for compounding walls with wire in the office and residential areas, Rs. 800,000 for planking and the complete furnishing of the training hall, Rs. 300,000 for the purchase of laboratory and dispensary equipment, Rs. 400,000 for the acquisition of a trinocular Olympus camera-equipped microscope, and Rs. 100,000 for purchasing furniture. Kusum informed that the budget has been given the top priority to support various programmes, including the Livestock and Fish Business Promotion, Animal Health, Animal Feed Promotion, Animal Breeding and Breed Improvement, Animal Genetic Resources Protection Programme, and Integrated Health Programme.
Lokendra Bahadur Ghale, Chairman of Chame Rural Municipality, emphasised the need for subsidies and other programmes to directly benefit the actual farmers. He urged caution to avoid duplicating efforts, considering that programmes initiated by the union and province government might overlap with those conducted at the local level.