Calf eating in a dairy household


What we do

ILRI’s mission is to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe, and sustainable use of livestock — ensuring better lives through livestock.

The institute’s research for development agenda addresses the complex mix of challenges and opportunities faced by small- and medium-scale livestock operators who are currently providing most of the meat, milk, eggs as well as staple cereals across the diverse mixed and pastoral husbandry systems of Africa and Asia.

Such enterprises present multiple and synergistic opportunities to meet the rising demand for milk, meat and eggs; while simultaneously improving incomes, livelihoods and nutrition for poor households, strengthening adaptive capacity and resilience (especially to climate change) and alleviating the threats posted by livestock farming to human and environmental health.


Drawn from some 40 nationalities, ILRI has a work force of over 600 staff globally and operates on an annual budget of about US$100M.

The institute works through extensive partnership arrangements with research and development institutions in both the developed and developing parts of the world.


The livestock challenge in Nepal

ILRI/Susan MacMillan
Dairy farmers deliver milk at a milk cooperative.

The livestock sector in Nepal makes substantial contributions to the country’s agriculture GDP and plays important roles in human food and nutritional security, livelihoods, women’s empowerment and rural poverty alleviation.

Though the country has shown notable growth in the livestock sector in the last five years, it continues to face significant challenges in terms of productivity, livestock diseases, food safety and dependence on other countries for inputs, knowledge and services. A large proportion of Nepal’s population is undernourished, with nearly half of all children under five chronically malnourished. Further, the substantial contribution of livestock to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission is a key concern in making the country livestock sector sustainable.

There is therefore need to create opportunities for research interventions in the country that can contribute to farm income, address malnutrition, improve resilience and to address livestock associated animal and human diseases and the sector’s ecological footprint.

How ILRI is addressing these challenges

ILRI has a long history in South Asia region through past and ongoing projects that have delivered positive outcomes. Priority areas for ILRI-led research and development in Nepal include:

  1. Livestock genetics and breeding, including community-based breeding strategies, molecular characterization and fast delivery of superior genetics through reproductive technologies.
  2. Feed resource development and mitigation of feed associated ecological footprint, including dual-purpose crops, feed balancing and strengthening the national feed lab to use near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technology and ILRI’s global experience in rapid investigation of feed quality.
  3. Animal and human health, including application of the One Health approach, vaccine and diagnostic development, food safety, and control of emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases.
  4. Market research, product diversification and food safety, including value-added processing to address the perishable nature of livestock products.

5. Goat development through commercialization pathways, including private sector-led inclusive novel technical innovations.

6. Innovation upscaling including investment in process capacities for large-scale uptake of technologies /innovations through public and private sector engagement.

These priority areas are aligned with the Nepal’s development priorities and will be implemented in collaboration with key national actors and research-for-development partners working in the country. ILRI will ensure that the national partners enhance their capacity both individually and institutionally in terms of knowledge, systems and practices. Further, ILRI will support policymakers and contribute to the policy making process with research evidence and up-to-date knowledge and techniques.

Current ILRI programs in Nepal

  1. CGIAR’s Research Initiative on Sustainable Animal Productivity (also known as SAPLING – sustainable animal productivity for livelihoods, income, nutrition and gender inclusion) has adopted an integrated approach to contribute to the transformation of the dairy sector in Nepal to make dairy production with buffaloes more productive, resilient, equitable and sustainable. With partners, researchers are developing a dairy genetic gains platform, a feed advisory platform, improving reproductive and herd health through better herd management and access to health inputs, integrated delivery of feed and health services and formal institutional arrangements for the co-creation of solutions.
  2. Co-management of a USAID funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems project together with the University of Florida. This project is supporting the following projects in Nepal:
    • The integrated approach to enhance milk quality, dairy animal productivity project and milk consumption by vulnerable household members in rural Nepal project, implemented by Heifer Nepal.
    • The socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dairy value chain in Western Nepal project, implemented by the University of Florida.
    • Modeling community-led goat genetic improvement program into sustainable and profitable business project, implemented by Heifer Nepal.
    • Local capacity development, implemented by Agricultural and Forestry University
  3. Assessment of methane emission in dairy animals – ILRI is supporting Heifer International Nepal to assess methane emissions from dairy animals using the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique. This is part of a climate smart livelihood project implemented by Heifer in Nepal.


Heifer International

Nepal Agricultural Research Council

Nepal Agricultural Research Council

Agricultural and Forestry University office of the Controller of Examinations

Agricultural and Forestry University office of the Controller of Examinations: Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal


Padmakumar Varijakshapanicker

Padmakumar Varijakshapanicker

Senior research management coordinator and Country representative Nepal

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