Contribution of farming on rural livelihood in Nepal : Focusing on dairy farming in Chitwan
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Nepal is a mountainous country, and agriculture is its economic mainstay. Due to the inadequate support of agricultural infrastructure service, and lack of agriculture inputs, agriculture has remained almost stagnant or experienced slow growth. Thus, crop production alone is unable to meet the ever-increasing food needs of the growing population. On the other hand, over use of fuelwood to meet the energy demand in household sector causes high pressure on forest and cropland, which adversely affects farming. And also the use of traditional energy source in traditional mud stove creates lots of indoor smoke that negatively affects the health of the people. Under these circumstances, there is a need of viable alternative, which requires comparatively low cost resources and have short income generating span, and can minimize the over use of fuelwood. Dairy farming could be one of the most appropriate and viable alternatives, which can provide food in terms of milk and meat, income earning and energy generation in terms of biogas at the household level. Considering this background, the general objective of the study is to assess the contribution of dairy farming on rural livelihood. The specific objectives are: 1) To examine the situation of crop and dairy farming in Nepal, focusing on Chitwan. 2)To analyze the crop and dairy production and income earning at household level. 3)To analyze milk yield of an individual dairy cow. 4)To examine the role of Cooperative dairying in dairy production at the household level. 5)To analyze the role of dairy animal as a source of energy in terms of biogas generation, and its implication in rural livelihood. 6)To analyze household's livelihood strategies being practiced by the farmers in order to maintain their livelihood.
This study uses both primary and secondary sources of information to support each other. A detailed field survey was conducted to collect information mostly on different farming components. The primary data was collected mainly during the two field trips during October 2001 to October 2002. Two Village Development Committees (VDCs) from Chitwan District, Tarai region of Nepal, were selected for the study. And one VDC from Kavre District, Hill region of Nepal, was also selected to make a comparative study between the biogas users in two regions. A total sample of 139 households was selected and orally interviewed using pre-tested semi-structured questionnaires. Data analysis was done both quantitatively and qualitatively. The income from crop farming, dairy farming, and other non-farm jobs were calculated for each individual household. Contribution of dairy farming in terms of milk, as food, was analyzed by calculating milk production, milk sale and self-consumption. And the contribution of dairy farming in terms of energy generation i.e. biogas generation was analyzed by using comparative study approach among the biogas users in the Hills and Tarai regions. Implications of the use of biogas gas in various aspects such as reduction in fuelwood use, minimize smoke born diseases, minimizing time spent in household activities, and additional income earning were also examined.
National level study shows that the government of Nepal seems to have accorded top priority to agriculture, and have been allocating good share of national budget since the Forth Five Year Plan (1956-61) to Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007). In spite of this effort, most of the targets set for agriculture growth were not achieved. The Plan efforts reveal that the livestock sector received due importance as one of the main sectors of agriculture development, and was taken into consideration only with the implementation of the Fifth Five Year Plan. In 1991, Nepal launched Livestock Master Plan to foster livestock sector development. Livestock units and stocking rate (LU/Ha) is increasing after the launch of LMP, but there is no significant change in livestock products. After the implementation of First Livestock Development Project (FLDP), it was realized that in order to develop over all dairy sectors, the dairy services has to reach individual household. The need of collective action with local milk producing household's participation was felt after the project. So the idea of Cooperative was introduced as a result. Hence, Milk Producers Associations (MPAs) was introduced at village level after the implementation of FLDP. Milk Producers Associations then converted in to Milk Producer Cooperative MPC, which is a registered legal body as per the Cooperative Act (NDDB, 2001). After being MPCs, farmers can sell milk in decided price and can receive various facilities and dairy infrastructure provided by Cooperatives.
In order to over come the problem of overuse of fuelwood and minimize burning of animal dung, biogas technology was proved to be one of the appropriate energy technologies produced by animal dung. Initially, it was only a matter of rural energy, and a few individuals were involved in it. After the World Energy crisis of 1973, it became a matter of environmental issue, which then triggered a global interest in this sector. Thus, it was promoted vigorously with the provision of subsidy, active involvement of private sectors and international donor agencies. As a result, the number of biogas plants has been increasing steadily to date. A finding regarding milk production shows that the annual milk production is higher in small and medium farmers as compared to large farmers. More than 804000f the total milk production is sold by small and medium farmer where as, large farmers sell only 58%.0 Per capita milk consumption is higher in small and medium farmer. The overall per capita consumption in this area is much higher compared to the national per capita milk consumption. Findings of the study show that the contribution of dairy income in the total household income is higher in case of small and medium farmers where as, the contribution from non-farm job is higher in case of large farmers. This implies that small and medium farmers, who have less land resources, have to depend on dairy farming. They are using more efforts and inputs, which translating to higher income. Most of the household members of large farmers are engaging in non-farm jobs because they have higher education, which give them more opportunity to get such jobs in urban areas.
Findings in use of biogas show that, at the village level, it is popular among the farmers, especially with livestock. It helps in saving time spent in fuelwood collection, cooking, and cleaning. This spent time is used in other income generating activities or in domestic activities. The cost of installation of the plant can be easily covered within four to five years. Biogas also lessens fuelwood consumed, and reduces burning of biomass that can be used in farms to generate more yield and income. It also improves health and hygiene of individuals, household and community, and contributes in saving money used for purchasing fuelwood and soap. Availability of fuel reduces the pressure on forest, which leads to reduction in deforestation and natural hazards. Thus, this provides environmentally friendly energy, which promotes good health. All these finally lead to well being of the rural people. This study concludes that dairy development could help to generate large amount of income for small and medium farmers who are the most target group in any development program. Dairy contributes significantly in improvement of rural livelihoods by providing food, income, energy for household purpose, and improved health and sanitation. Thus, dairy activity can be a one intervention, designed to improve broader environment that affect household livelihoods.
Thesis or Dissertation
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Singh, Manjeshwori and Keshav Lall Maharjan (2002). “ Socio-economic Impacts of Promotion of Renewable Energy Technology in Hill Areas of Nepal: A Perspective of Biogas Technology", Journal of Rural Problem, Volume 37, No. 4, pp.300-305.
Singh, Manjeshwori and Keshav Lall Maharjan (2003). “Contribution of biogas Technology in Well-being of Rural Hill Areas of Nepal: a Comparative Study between Biogas Users and Non-users", Journal of International Development and Cooperation, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.43-63.
Singh, Manjeshwori and Keshav Lall Maharjan (2005). “ Dairy Production and its Implication in Household Income in the Tarai Region of Nepal", Journal of Contributions to Nepalese Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp.213-241.
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