OFF THE BEATEN TREK
I strongly suggest the visitors to Pokhara to include this place in their menu of Pokhara sightseeing. You don’t need any guide to visit this place. Take mountain bike from Lakeside and paddle comfortably from Lakeside to Lampatan, about 5km away from Lakeside.
You don’t have to pay any entrance fee to visit Livestock Development Farm (LDF). I’m sure your next two hours will spend in full of excitement and curiosity. So, want to know more about this place? Let’s read this article and explore more…
By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM
Livestock Development Farm (LDF) at Lampatan, Pokhara is the only leading government undertaking livestock development farm in the western region of Nepal. It has been working in the field of livestock development for the last five decades. The LDF was established by the help of New Zealand government in 1960. Since then the farm has been rendering its services uninterruptedly.
With the establishment of LDF, it started working on developing quality breeds of sheep. In the beginning, there were only sheep, so that local people began calling Livestock Development Farm as Bhedi Farm. Today everyone knows LDF by the name of Bhedi Farm.
The project had started crossbreeding local Barual sheep with exotic Polworth breed. However, the whole effort was not very successful as Baruwal sheep from high hills could not adjust in Pokhareli climate. As Barual sheep failed to acclimatize the Pokhareli climate, Kage, yet another native breed of sheep was introduced. This was a successful venture and the project was continued. In the meantime, the New Zealand assistance finally ended in 1964.
However, since 1969 the farm diversified its working area and included buffalos, pigs and poultry. Under the initiation of Gandaki Zone Agriculture Development Programme, GTZ, a German agency for technical co-operation, provided vital assistance to LDF from 1975 to 1980. With this aide, the farm could develop several important infrastructures and imported machinery & tools including special kinds of animals and birds for the research and breeding development purpose.
At present Livestock Development Farm (LDF) Pokhara is involved in developing high quality animals, birds, seeds, saplings and helping farmers to provide them with latest technology. These modern technologies help farmers to increase their farms outputs. This has made many farmers to make a better earning from agriculture and livestock.
Speaking with this scribe, Shambhu Raj Pandey, senior livestock development officer, shed more light on the history of animal development in Nepal in general and Livestock Development Farm in particular.
He said: “The history of livestock development in Nepal is quite old. It started from 1917 when Jung Bahadur Rana, then Prime Minister of Nepal, imported special types of cows from England.
“Those cows were big, sociable and give more milk. However, importing them from England was a tedious process and expensive too. Hence, the import of such cows could not be continued for long. In later years, Nepali government began importing special types of cows from India. This way the number of cows rapidly increased in Kathmandu and elsewhere in the country.
“In the next stage of development, a Livestock Improve Section (LIS) was established in 1952, with the purpose of increasing genetic potentialities of indigenous cows. Then in 1960 New Zealand government helped to establish Livestock Development Farm at Lampatan, Pokhara”.
Though Livestock Development Farm had started with the purpose of producing quality sheep for the breeding and development purpose, nowadays LDF has shifted its interest from sheep to livestock. Due to growing interest of Nepali farmers in buffalos, goats, pigs and poultry, the LDF did also include all these animals and poultry within the range of their research and development”.
At present, LDF is rearing Boera goats…these are of special kind of goats. Boera goats are African specie. They grow much faster than other normal goats. Boera goats weigh around 30 kg in just six months and female goats mostly give twins birth. This is an added advantage for the goat farmers.
Normally, red meat contains high amount of cholesterol, but Boera goats contain extremely low amount of cholesterol. This is the reason why the meat of Boera goats is much safer from health point of view.
“Many people misunderstand the purpose of Livestock Development Farm and they come to purchase goat, buffaloes, pigs and chickens in bulk” said Shambhu Raj Pandey, senior livestock development officer and continued. “The main purpose of LDF is to conduct research and developing high standard species of goats, sheep, buffaloes and poultry. Our job is not selling livestock in bulk and making profit”.
A large number of buffaloes are enough to make their presence felt at Livestock Development Farm, Pokhara. Many of these buffaloes are of special breed. After regular experiments, the experts at LDF found that Murrah buffaloes were much more capable to integrate in Pokhareli environment.
“Murrah buffaloes are typical Indian buffaloes. Now we have 250 Murrah buffaloes. At present, 43 buffaloes daily give over 45 liters of milk. Local people are fond of Murrah buffalo’s milk as it is much tastier than other buffalo’s milk. They come early in the morning and stand in a queue at the dairy of LDF. We produce yoghurt, butter, packet milk, paneer etc. and sell locally from our dairy. These items are fully organic that’s why many people regularly visit to purchase such dairy products,” informed Shambhu Raj Pandey, senior livestock development officer.
Pig farm is as big as buffalo farm. Livestock Development Farm is the home of several exotic breeds of pigs such as Yorkshire, Landrace, Hampshire and Duroc. Nepal started importing such exotic breeds from 1957. These are high quality breeds and largely productive from business point of view. Local pigs such as Chwanche, Hurrah, Bampudke, Pakhribas black and Dharane kalo banngur have good taste while eating but they grow slowly and do not weigh more meat.
“Pig farming is still at the developing stage. We are regularly experimenting to develop hybrid pigs, which grow fast and weigh more meat. We have high breeds of pigs, which we supply to several professional pig farm owners. We regularly organize training programme for the pig farm owners and inform them how they should take care of their pigs and get maximum benefits,” informed Shambhu Raj Pandey.
Poultry farm is most systematic at Livestock Development Farm. There are two types of chickens, which are very special. These breeds of chickens are not supplied from anywhere in the country except the LDF. Black Astrolan chickens are completely black, whereas New Hampshire chickens are bright maroon.
“We produce daily about 4000 to 5000 chicks to sell and still we are not being able to meet ever growing demand. To produce chicks we have two modern incubators. One incubator machine makes the eggs ready to be hatched and the next machine hatch those eggs to make chicks. In the entire western region, LDF is the only farm where eggs are hatched, produced and chicks are distributed at a large scale”, said Dip Bahadur Bharati, in charge of poultry farm section.
“There are doctors, senior technicians, scientists and advisors to guide the livestock development activities smoothly. Though vital positions for scientists are still vacant, despite that we are working hard to achieve our set goals. We have our own fodder production unit that produces fodder to feed animals and birds we have in the farm. To make sufficient fodder, the LDF has enough land to produce special grasses, which are rich in nutritious values.
“A new technique is followed to make silace. We keep grass underground for a certain period and when the grass is taken out silace is ready to give buffaloes. All buffaloes like silace very much,” said Arjun Bhandari, a technician at Livestock Development Farm (LDF).
Shambhu Raj Pandey, senior livestock development officer, has even more ambitious scheme for the targeted farmers.
“We want to promote home stay in the region by supplying special, hybrid chickens to poultry farm owners. They can offer tasty chicken items to tourists who come to their houses. This way, tourists will have opportunity to eat chickens that will have a unique taste. However, at present mostly broiler chickens are served to tourists which do not have great taste”.
Livestock Development Farm has a long history of dedicated service to improve the quality of livestock in the country. Over the years, LDF has gone through several difficulties but nothing could stop them from developing high quality breeds of animals and birds to assist farmers. Today several livestock farm owners of the country have been receiving benefits from the services provided by Livestock Development Farm, Pokhara.
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