Collaboration opportunities to strengthen Nepal’s livestock sector were top of the agenda when Shri Mahindra Ray Yadav, Nepal’s minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development along with his private secretary, Dinesh Kumar Yadav, visited the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). During the courtesy call to the institute’s New Delhi office on 8 June 2022, Yadav and ILRI’s regional representative for South Asia, Rahman Habibar, discussed technical support in the livestock sector, capacity development and women’s empowerment.
At the meeting, Habibar requested the minister to extend his support in strengthening the newly established ILRI office in Nepal, which was inaugurated in 2021 at the government’s request, so that collaborative research work in mutual priority areas can be undertaken. He added that a delegation of scientists and researchers had recently visited India from the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) to discuss ways of collaborating in transboundary animal diseases research; producing a livestock master plan (LMP) for Nepal; genetic improvement of indigenous animals; animal disease economics and One Health, including zoonotic diseases; food safety and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
‘Through partnership, we can build on the major activities and achievements of ILRI in South Asia and Nepal, including the development of the LMP for Odisha and Bihar states, methane emission and mitigation interventions, reduction of economic losses from different animal diseases, identification of dual-purpose fodder varieties, development of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) chips for backyard poultry and research evidence on zoonotic diseases such as brucellosis and AMR,’ Habibar said.
In his address, Yadav appreciated the government of India and ILRI for providing capacity development opportunities for Nepal in various streams of agricultural and allied sciences and assured the institute of his support for the newly established country office. He expressed optimism that joint efforts would help Nepal become self-sufficient in domestic agricultural production in the years to come.
‘In Nepal, 65% of the population depends on agriculture and animal husbandry and about 25% lives below the poverty line. Therefore, we need technological support and human resource development in the livestock and agriculture sectors to improve our livelihoods,’ said the minister.
Uma Shankar Singh, Asia and Africa advisor for research and partnership at International Rice Research Institute also participated in the meeting.