Capacity Development Livestock / Fisheries

Strengthening Capacity for Enhanced Animal Nutrition Services

Bhutanese farmers practise mixed farming, with crops and livestock rearing forming an integral part of their livelihoods, particularly in rural communities At farmers’ level, agriculture, livestock and forest interventions are integrated farmers depend on livestock for manure for soil fertility, and dairy products for nutrition and income, while forests provide feed and fodder for animals, timber for construction, wood for heating and cooking, and non wood forest products for consumption and sale Communities in higher altitudes depend more on livestock as the farming of crops has limited scope In semi urban areas, commercial dairy and other livestock products have also emerged with improved breeds Animal nutrition has thus become more important than ever before The only animal nutrition laboratory ( equipped to analyse feed and fodder samples in the country is in Jakar in north central Bhutan However, the laboratory lacks capacity in terms of both institutional and human resources Owing to insufficient government funding, the ANL is not fully functional and, despite the important national mandate of the laboratory, the government has not been able to equip it adequately, nor train personnel to carry out important feed analysis functions Some of the existing equipment is obsolete and not serviceable, while laboratory staff members have not received adequate training in the use of the laboratory facilities The ANL needs equipment for the analysis of feed and fodder samples Training and refresher courses are also required to ensure that laboratory staff members are kept abreast of the latest developments in livestock nutrition.