|Inter-Regional project for participatory upland conservation and development (Field Document 6/97) - NEPAL - A framework for a participatory economic evaluation of improved goat production by women groups in the Bhusunde Khola watershed (1997)|
Trees on private land provide the major part of the green fodder given to the goats.
Trees are widespread over the farmland with different densities. On khet land (levelled terraces irrigated at least part of the year), the density of trees is low (about 6 trees/ha), on bari land (sloping terraces without irrigation), the density of trees varies from 168 trees/ha close to the house down to 92 trees/ha far from the house (Mori, 1995). The average agricultural holding is estimated to about 1 ha (0.98 ha/household in Mori (1995)). Depending on the proportion of bari and khet land the average household should, in theory, have more than 100 trees, although not all are suitable for fodder.
Some areas of marginal land, kharbari, has a relatively high tree density (252 trees/ha), but the extent of kharbari land is limited. In parts of the watershed there are small patches of forest. Some of these areas have been, or are in the process of being handed over as community forests. The use of the forest products in these areas is restricted according to the forest management plans for the respective areas.
Estimates given during the interviews indicated that 10-15 trees were needed for one goat (up to 25 trees for a buffalo) to provide fodder for a year. At the end of the dry season most trees that can be used for fodder are heavily lopped and most often only the stem and larger leafless branches remain.
The most popular fodder tree species in the project area are Tanki (Bauhinia purpurea), Badahar (Artocarpus lakoocha), Khanayao (Ficus semicordata), Kutmero (Litsea monopetala), Gaayo (Bridelia retusa), Ghidari (Pieris formosa), Bakaaino (Melia azedarach) and Chilaune (Schima wallichii).
CASE - Mahila Chetna Samaj (Women's Awareness Society)
Mahila Chetna Samaj is located in Tutunga village in the South-eastern part of the Bhusunde Khola watershed. It is a women' group with several activities, one of them the purchase of a genetically improved Jamunapari buck for the use in the goat production of the group members.
The improved buck was requested and arrived in Tutunga in June 1995.
The project assisted the group with organising the purchase and provided the transport. The prize of the buck was 600 NRs. The group members paid only 4 NRs each as the project, in this particular case, subsidised the prize with about 75%. (This practise is now changed to be in accordance with the District Livestock Office's policy of subsidising only the transport).
The buck was kept and taken care of by one member (the Secretary of the group). Payment for a service of the buck was made to the 'buck-keeper' group members could pay with fodder, while non-members had to pay 10 NRs.
The buck was kept for 18 months and then sold as meat for 2,400
The secretary kept a record of the services provided by the buck in the period from July 1995 to January 1996. In this period 62 services was recorded of which 16 was provided to non-group members' goats. Only one service was not successful. The major part resulted in two offspring, the rest in one. Unfortunately the record has not been kept for the total period of 18 months.
The benefits of using an improved buck were reported to be a higher price for kids already sold, and that the offspring still being kept were bigger than the local of the same age, thereby raising expectations for a higher sales price.
At first, no changes in the goat keeping practise were mentioned during the interviews. However, later discussions brought the following observations concerning differences between offspring from the improved buck and offspring from local bucks:
· improved offspring need higher feed intake to perform a high growth rate (15 20% was mentioned);
· improved offspring need more caretaking than local goats;
· improved offspring need higher 'living standard' to perform well (e.g. better, cleaner and drier sheds);
· there are indications that the improved offspring are more susceptible to diseases.
Most farmers regenerate trees on their land from wildlings. Rates from 7-10 seedlings/wildlings planted per year (with a survival rate of 4-5) seems to be common practice. The newly planted seedlings/wildlings are usually protected with a kind of tree-guard and thorny branches. The tree planting is usually carried out by the men in the household.