Hands-on training and advocacy of highland livestock staffs on Wool Processing “Learning from Herders”

Yak fiber and sheep wool were used by the highlanders for over a thousand years to make clothes, tents, ropes and blankets. Currently, with availability of different wool and yak fiber materials in the markets, the cultural and traditional use of wool & fibre and also the knowledge and art of traditional wool processing is diminishing in the country. Thus, to revive and promote traditional wool and fibre use, wool processing skills and knowledge, map and document different wool and fibre products in the country. A three days advocacy and hands-on training on sheep wool and yak fiber processing was organized for the highland livestock staffs at the National Sheep Breeding Center (NSBC), Dechenpelrithang, Bumthang. The event was also intended to impart skills and knowledge on traditional sheep wool and yak fibre processing, local processing methods, expose to different improve wool processing equipment, and start annual sheep wool & yak fibre collection and recording. The event was attended by livestock staffs from Paro, Haa, Tashigang, Bumthang, Gasa, Thimphu and Wangdue dzongkhag and National Highland Research and Development Centre (NHRDC).

The experts – two herders (Mr. Kunzang and Kencho) from Tsento geog, ESPs at the National Sheep Breeding Centre (NSBC), Dundmithang and an official from Meteorology Section, Bumthang Mr. Ugyen Dorji known himself as the third-generation farmers with skills on sheep wool processing provided a hands-on demonstration-cum-training on yak fibre & sheep wool carding, spinning, and needle and wet felting. Mr. Ugyen comes from Khaling, Tashigang, and he said that his family used to rear more than 800 sheep in the past, and he is willing to share his skills and knowledge on sheep wool processing to any interested individual and organizations.

A way forward to diversify wool products and detail documentation of existing wool products in Bhutan was discussed, developed and agreed. The event was organized by Research and Extension Division (RED) in collaboration with the National Highland Research and Development Center, Bumthang, National Sheep Breeding Center, Bumthang, Department of Livestock, MoAF from 28 February to 1st March 2020.

Reported by: Research & Extension Division, Department of Livestock, MoAF.