Women buffalo farmer at fertility clinic (ILRI / Nils Teufel).

Village livestock promoters in rural Nepal are changing the lives of buffalo farmers

CGIAR’s Sustainable Animal Productivity for Livelihoods, Nutrition and Gender Inclusion (SAPLING) initiative has begun implementing SAPLING Bhaisi (meaning buffalo in the Nepali language) with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to reconcile low buffalo productivity and uncompetitive markets in rural Nepal. By 2032, SAPLING hopes to achieve sustainable, competitive, inclusive and resilient buffalo value chains drive improved livelihoods, enhanced food and nutritional security and promote equitable growth of men and women.

SAPLING Bhaisi has partnered ILRI with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, rural municipalities and rural dairy cooperatives to reimagine cooperatives as a service provider. Cooperatives and their local governments participating in the SAPLING project have jointly appointed trained junior technical assistants as Village Livestock Promoters (VLPs). VLPs are an integrated approach to train extension workers as multiple service providers, connecting farmers to input suppliers and facilitating complementary innovations in a business mode.

Group photo of the VLPs and other value chain actors at the December training in Sunsari, Nepal

From 5 December to 8 December 2022, various VLPs, veterinarians and other buffalo value chain actors attended field trainings and feedback sessions on the various tools co-designed with partners for data collection on feed and animal health that provide advisory support. Megharaj Basnet, a junior technical assistant from Barahakshetra municipality, described how the training would support his role as VLP:

“By using these applications, I can give correct advice to the farmers based on the local context, which would increase the trust between technicians and the farmers.”

The bundled technologies enable VLPs to be a link between the farmer and the cooperative. Using the tools to input, VLPs are given specialised information to share with the farmer on improving buffalo productivity. In a positive feedback loop, cooperatives will want to support VLPs in their data collection and advisory support to farmers because increased buffalo productivity will increase milk production.

Read more about how VLPs support SAPLING Bhaisi’s integrated approach on CGIAR.org

Photos by ILRI / Nils Teufel