Local Communities Learn Goat Production, Management, & Climate Change Adaptation

Members of a Community Livestock Group learn to recognize signs of disease and poor nutrition in goats at a recent workshop, sponsored by the Livestock-Climate Change CRSP SLPS project.Photo by Durga Poudel.

In central Nepal, where rugged terrain and widespread poverty limit veterinary care, more than two in ten goats will succumb to parasites and disease. Goats are a source of food and a living bank account that can be cashed in for school fees or a medical emergency. For a woman who tends goats, the loss of even a few animals means she’ll send fewer children to school and have less food for her family. The health of livestock is a major concern for the people living in the Thulo Khola watershed. In response, farmers and others gathered for in October for hands-on training in various aspects of goat production and management that can improve animal health and boost productivity.

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette community learns about impact of climate change on rural Nepal

By Durga Poudel, University of Louisiana/LCC CRSP SLPS Project & Sarah Lupis, LCC CRSP

Dr. Durga Poudel talks about climate change adaptations for livestock keepers in Nepal to about 25 faculty, staff, and students in the University of Louisiana School of Geosciences on September 20, 2011. Photo courtesy of Durga Poudel.

Nearly 50 million years ago, tectonic plates collided, giving rise to the lofty Himalayas, majestic mountains, scenic valleys and meandering rivers of Nepal.  Lying on this fault line, the region has been prone to devastating earthquakes—the tragic 2001 Gujrat earthquake, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and the current Sikkim earthquake, to name a few.  Today, explained Dr. Durga D. Poudel in a September 20th presentation to the faculty, staff, and students of the School of Geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, this region is vulnerable to a new threat: climate change.

In his presentation, Poudel emphasized current vulnerabilities of the region to climate change impacts. “This region is experiencing increasing incidences of flooding, drought, glacier retreats and glacial lake outbursts in recent years.  Temperature rise, shifting cropping zones, emerging incidences of diseases and pests, and landslides and river-cuttings are other problems related to the climate change impacts,” he explained to the crowd that gathered for the talk.

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Funding Opportunity for Nepalese Graduate Students

The Livestock-Climate Change CRSP is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity designed to build scientific capacity in Nepal: the International Graduate Student Fellowship Program-Nepal (IGSFP-Nepal). The LCC CRSP is committed to building research capacity in the regions where we work, including Nepal, because well trained, innovative scientists and leaders are essential to achieving broader research and development goals and building a sustainable, prosperous future.

The IGSFP-Nepal is intended to provide opportunities for graduate education that prepare students in Nepal for interdisciplinary careers within the vision and objectives of the Livestock-Climate Change CRSP (see LCC CRSP Research Strategy). The Fellows will be expected to become specialists who can contribute to research regarding the adaptation of livestock systems to climate change in Nepal. Selected fellows must propose to conduct research in Nepal. In this way, the LCC CRSP aims to build research capacity. Continue reading

The Challenges of Adapting Livestock Production to Climate Change in Nepal

The poor condition of animal sheds, lack of veterinary support, inadequate feed supply, and lack of resources...characterize the livestock management system in Nepal. These conditions are reflected by extremely poor livestock heath. Photo by Durga Poudel.

Livestock-Climate Change CRSP research partner Durga Poudel authored an article published in the Telegraph Nepal about the challenges of adapting livestock production to climate change in Nepal. Poudel is a professor and head of the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Louisiana, at Lafayette. He is also the leader of the LCC CRSP project titled, “Capacity-building and Strengthening of Livestock Production Systems While Adapting to Climate Change in Nepal” (SLPS).

In the Telegraph Nepal article, Poudel describes the vulnerability of livestock systems in Nepal to climate change. “Livestock production is one of the major components of Nepalese mixed farming system….Agricultural crops provide food to the families, and fodder, straw, and grains to the livestock. Most rural families depend on livestock to support and send their children to schools and colleges,” Poudel explains.

“While Terai region is more vulnerable to floods, temperature rise, droughts, and fire, the mid-hills are vulnerable to landslides and water shortages. Similarly, the Himalayas are vulnerable to snow melts, glacier retreats, and glacial lake outbursts. Changing weather patterns, extreme rain events and associated floods and landslides, crop failures, habitat shift, acute water shortages, incidence of new diseases and parasites, river-cuttings and land losses, and hydrological changes are some of the impacts of climate change noticed in Nepal,” he writes.

Poudel describes the poor state of livestock production and management. Milk production lags behind demand, livestock are in poor health, and veterinary services are largely unavailable to rural farmers.

Poudel recently returned from a month-long trip to Nepal during which he interviewed livestock keepers throughout the country. “Farmers are aware of changes occurring in their production systems due to global climate change. Increasing incidences of new diseases, skin diseases, drug resistance, new parasites, and poor feed supply are some of the issues farmers have already perceived as problems due to global climate change,” he says. “Although farmers have tried to adapt to these changes by lowering their herd sizes, switching to smaller-size animals, rain water harvesting, and moving out from the locality, these are only short-term measures. The challenges are finding adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change so that livestock production could be increased and the production system could be strengthened.”

Read the complete article in the Nepal Telegraph


Chronicles, Summer 2011

The Summer 2011 issue of Chronicles, the quarterly newsletter of the Livestock-Climate Change CRSP is now available on line and in paper formats.

Inside this Issue:

  • Six Students Named as LCC CRSP Fellows
  • Nepal Stakeholder Consultation
  • RICs: Collaboration for Innovation
  • Partner Profile: Corinna Riginos
  • U.S. Universities Shape FTF Research Strategy

Past issues of Chronicles are located in our newsletter archive.

Livestock, Livelihoods and Climate Change Interaction Project Launched in Nepal

The Livestock-Climate Change CRSP Seed Grant Program for Nepal project, “Livestock, Livelihoods, and Climate Change Interaction: A Collaborative Research in the Mountains of Nepal” (LLCCI) was launched last week at LI-BIRD’s headquarters in Pokhara, Nepal.

Reported by Keshab Thapa, Programme Officer, LI-BIRD

The LLCCI project was launched in a formal inauguration session by Mr. Birendra Bahadur Hamal, Regional Director, Regional Agricultural Directorate, Western Development Region, Kaski, Nepal. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha.

With the distinguished guests and professionals from 12 research and development organizations of Nepal and United States, a collaborative research project entitled “Livestock, Livelihoods and Climate Change Interaction: A Collaborative Research in the Mountains of Nepal” was formally launched in LI-BIRD’s headquarters in Pokhara on 08 July 2011. This collaborative action research will be conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scholars and practitioners based in the United States and Nepal. The team is composed of Principal Investigator Prof. Netra Chhetri, a climate change adaptation and food security scholar at Arizona State University (ASU) and two non-governmental organizations in Nepal: Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD) and Nucleus for Empowerment through Skill Transfer (NEST).

The programme was chaired by Dr. Banshi Sharma, Regional Livestock Director, Regional Livestock Services Office, Western Development Region, Kaski, Nepal. The project was launched in a formal inauguration session by Mr. Birendra Bahadur Hamal, Regional Director, Regional Agricultural Directorate, Western Development Region, Kaski, Nepal. Mr. Abishkar Subedi, Programme Director of LI-BIRD welcomed all guests and participants, briefed the objectives of the launching and initiated introduction of the participants.

During the programme, Mr. Sajal Sthapit, Programme Coordinator for Knowledge Management and Capacity Building Programme of LI-BIRD briefly introduced LI-BIRD and its priorities, and achievements to date.

Joyce Turk, Senior Livestock Advisor with USAID, illustrates the relationship between livestock, environmental, and human health. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha.

Ms. Joyce Turk, Senior Livestock Development Manager from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shared the objective of Livestock-Climate Change Collaborative Research Support Program (LCC CRSP) of USAID. In her speech, she presented a triangular relationship among environment/climate change, livestock, and human and their interaction for balancing the system with a continuous adaptation and trade off for which the LCC CRSP has been designed. She also stressed an urgent need of knowledge on how livestock and then the livestock keepers’ livelihoods are interacting with climate change and also the health of human, livestock and environment is the most important part to be dealt.

Prof. Shana Gillete, from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of Colorado State University focused on the need of integrating livestock, livelihoods and climate change and develop knowledge product to guide for policy making process.

Prof. Netra Chhetri, of Arizona State University and the Principal Investigator of the project briefly presented the project concept, objectives, and outcomes. According to him, it is a good opportunity for US agencies to collaborate with Nepalese NGOs like LI-BIRD and NEST.

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