10th October 2021: The Bhutan Yak Federation (BYF) calls the Yak Cooperatives for establishing Yak based business in their respective Dzongkhags for accelerating income generation and offering job opportunities for the highland youths. In this process, the Department of Livestock is guiding the BYF in developing its strategy document for strengthening yak cooperatives in all the highland districts. The office bearers of the yak cooperatives from Soe, Naro, Dagala, Paro, Haa, Sephu, Beldrok and Laya from Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Wangduephodrang and Gasa districts were gathered at Haa to share their experience and lessons learned in exploring business opportunities for their cooperatives and engaging future youths of the herding community. They are supported by the Livestock Production Officer (LPO) from Highland Dzongkahgs in capturing the traditional knowledge and in lining with the current needs and future demands of the herding community. The BYF is the first of its kind in the country and the office bearers of all the yak cooperatives were consulted to come up with good strategy document.
During the two days extensive consultation meeting, the group work on current issues and challenges of yak farming in their respective yak cooperative areas were defined and compiled with appropriate plans of actions. The common issues and challenges such as low productivity, declining yak population, poor market chain for products, and limited access to other amenities were deliberated. The external supports such as fund required for capacity building, hands on practical on product diversification, regional and international knowledge exchange supports from the stakeholders were identified.
On the other hand, the need of the institutional building such as market and infrastructures development and creating center of excellence for yak farming were deliberated. The unique and important cultural practice of resource management and sharing that maintains the community vitality were identified and deliberated in depth. The rangeland or Tsamdro management and cultural practices were captured and documented for strategy document. Besides, the yak value chain development and trade opportunities, yak networking and trans-boundary cooperation and creating alliances and platforms in the region were discussed to sustain the yak farming. The fund for this program is supported by Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation & Development Initiatives (KLCDI), ICIMOD, Nepal.
Kinley Rinchen, Sr. Livestock Production Officer, Haa, Bhutan