The Kathmandu Post, 22nd May 2017, Birendra KC, Argakhanchi
Seven years ago, Bishnu Karki of Bastari left Nepal in hopes of a better future and went to Qatar.
Once he arrived in Qatar, things were not so rosy. The pay was menial and the working conditions hard.
He left Qatar disappointed after just two years and started a cattle business instead. The rest as they say is history.
He is now the proud owner of Anil Buffalo Firm, with 18 buffaloes and 9 cows which produces up to 110 litres of milk every day.
The firm employs four people and Karki himself manages to save Rs70,000 at the end of each month.
“In Qatar, life was hard and the pay not good,” said Karki, “Here, the pay is good and you don’t mind the sweat dripping from your face to your own country’s soil.”
As there is now a proper road connecting Bastari to Tansen along with the district headquarters in Sandikharka, more dairy farms are springing up, following in Karki’s footsteps.
To ensure the success of dairy farms in the area, the farmers have collectively opened a dairy corporation of 32 people called the ‘Namuna Durgafat Dairy Producers’.
The farmers contribute nearly 250 litres of milk every day to the corporation’s reservoir which gets transported to Palpa’s Srinagar Dairy.
A member of the dairy corporation, Ramu Neupane said, “We earn some Rs15,000 to Rs50,000 through the milk business every month while the dairy corporation earns nearly Rs450,000 per month.”
The local dairy corporation has received a grant of Rs1.8 million from some government agencies to expand the buildings and road networks.
According to Neupane, more and more people are returning from foreign employment to try their hand at the lucrative dairy business.
Furthermore, as the road infrastructure increases across villages, the dairy business has become a sustainable source of income for villagers.
Shakhar Ghimire was one of those returning from foreign employment to dabble in the dairy business.
“I returned from Malaysia and Dubai to start my own business, said Ghimire, “I can save up to Rs200,000 by the end of the year from this business, which is far better than what I used to receive in foreign countries.”
There are 12 other people in the same neighbourhood that returned from the Middle East and are now following in Ghimire’s footsteps.
The boom in dairy farmers has raised the total annual transaction of dairy products to a staggering Rs1.008 billion, according to Bishnu Prasad Poudel of the District Animal Protection Office. Individuals and corporations earn a monthly total of Rs90 million. This indicates that milk is a good source of income for locals.
“The production of milk has increased by 20% all over the region,” said Poudel, “The milk here sells for Rs60 per litre and that has made dairy farming a sustainable source of income for people.”
Every day, cities in the region of Tansen and Tamghas receive around 3,000 litres of milk from the surrounding villages of Dhatiwang, Arghatosh, Morang, Bhagwati and more.
For those returning from foreign employment to start a dairy business in Nepal, the grass seems to be much greener here than abroad.