Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles

 

 


Bhutan

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by

Kinzang Wangdi





1. Introduction
2. Soils and Topography
3. Climate and Agro-ecological Zones
4. Ruminant Livestock Production Systems
5. Fodder Resources
6. Opportunities for Improvement of Pasture Resources
7. Research and Development Organizations and Personnel
8. References
9. Contacts


1. INTRODUCTION

Bhutan is a small kingdom covering an area of 46,500 square kilometres in the eastern part of the Himalayan Range between latitudes 260 40’ and 280 20’ north and longitude 880 45’ and 920 7’ east. It is surrounded by the Tibetan Plateau in the north, the Bengal and Assam Plains in the south, Arunachal Pradesh in the east and the Darjeeling and the Sikkim Himalaya in the west (see Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Map of Bhutan

The country is mountainous with elevations ranging from 150 up to 8,000 m. traversing south to north with a great diversity of environments. Of the 600,000 population, 90 percent are dependent on agriculture. Farming is essentially subsistence and the main crops grown are maize, rice, millet, buckwheat, barley, and mustard. However, the mountainous nature of the country makes only about 8 percent of the total land suitable for crops (LUPP, 1995). Furthermore land use is dictated by the diverse climate and topography. Land use is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Bhutan: land use

Land use Area
‘000 ha.
Percent of country
Forest 2904.5 72.5
Wetland 38.8 1.0
Dryland 181.7 4.5
Shifting Cultivation (Tseri) 88.3 2.2
Orchard (apples, citrus, cardamom) 5.8 0.1
Natural Pasture (Tsadrog) 155.3 3.9
Improved Pasture 1.1 <0.1
Others (Scrubs, rocks etc.) 632.2 15.7
Total land area 4,007.7 100
Source: LUPP Dzongkhag Data Sheets, 1995. MOA 1997a, 1997b; Roder et al. 2001.

The number of farming households in 1996 was estimated at 65,000 with an average of seven members. Average land holdings are 1.5 ha with 10 percent of households owning more than 5 ha (PPD, 1996). Most farming is subsistence with an integration of crops, forests and livestock.

Livestock is an integral part in all Bhutanese farming systems contributing 10 percent of the GDP (Dorji, 1995). This figure however does not account for value added contributions made to agriculture through manure and draught power. The large variations in the environmental conditions has led to a range of livestock production systems, ranging from the high altitude transhumance yak-sheep system to systems where animals are used primarily for draft and manure only.

Livestock categories with farmers include cattle, equines, pigs, poultry, sheep and goats. Cattle are by far the most numerous and constitute 79.5 percent of the total ruminant population (Table 2). Improved breeds introduced into the country are Jersey, Brown Swiss and mithun (Bos frontalis), but local native cattle account for 73 percent of the cattle population.

Table 2. Livestock population 1

Ruminants Number (‘000) percent of ruminants
Cattle 304.9 79.5
Yak 30.2 7.9
Buffalo 1.0 0.3
Sheep 31.3 8.2
Goats 16.0 4.1
Source: LUPP Dzongkhag Data Sheets, 1995; Roder et al. 2001. 11995 excluding pigs and poultry

Primary production figures are not available but estimates based on animal population and household surveys have put the annual milk production at 10,600 tons (PPD, 1996), production of different types of meat at 2,000-3,000 tons and eggs at 600-800,000 dozen. Most of these products are for home consumption (MOA, 1995).


2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY

The topography of Bhutan is characterized by rugged mountains separated by river valleys. Elevations range from just below 200m in the south to almost 8,000m in the north. Geologically, most of Bhutan consists of crystalline sheets with large masses of tertiary granite intrusions towards the north. For details of the geology of Bhutan see Ganser (1983) who defined 5 geological zones: the Sub-Himalaya; the Lower Himalaya; the High Himalaya; the Tibetan Himalaya, and the Indus-Tsangpo zone.

Information on Bhutan’s soils is very scarce. The FAO/UNESCO soil map (FAO/UNESCO, 1977) classified about 27 percent of Bhutan as having either cambisols or fluvisols (cambisols are most common in the medium- altitude zone, while fluvisols mostly occur in the southern belt). Less fertile acrisols, ferrasols and podzols were estimated to cover 45 percent of the country. The same study also reports that 21 percent of the soil-covered area suffers from shallow depth with mostly lithosol occurring on steep slopes (Roder et al., 2001). Bhutan’s forest soils have been classified by Sargent et al. (1985) and Okazaki (1987) who delineated 5 major soil groups (yellow soils, yellow brown forest soils, brown forest soils, podzols and alpine meadow soils) based on 69 samples collected from sites between 150 and 5,300 m. Altitude and prepcipitation were the main factors used in the classification. Currently a Soil Survey Project has embarked on a systematic soil survey of Bhutan.


3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES

Bhutan is divided into six agro-ecological zones: alpine, cool temperate, warm temperate, dry sub-tropical, humid sub-tropical and wet sub-tropical (Table 3).

Table 3 Agro-ecological zones of Bhutan

Agro-ecological zone Altitude m. Temperature 0C
Rainfall
mm
  Max Min Mean  
Alpine >3500 12.0 -1.0 5.5 <650
Cool temperate 2500-3500 22.0 1.0 10 650-850
Warm Temperate 1800-2500 26.0 1.0 13 650-850
Dry Sub-tropical 1200-1800 29.0 3.0 17 850-1200
Humid Sub-tropical 600-1200 33.0 5.0 20 1200-1500
Wet Sub-Tropical 150-600 35.0 12.0 24 2500-5500
Source: Dorji, 1995

Grierson and Long (1983) have classified Bhutan’s vegetation into 11 zones (see Table 4).

Table 4. Vegetation zones in Bhutan (after Grierson and Long (1983) from Roder et al. , 2001)

Dominant species Altitude (m) Rainfall (cm)
Subtropical forest 200-1,000 250-500
Warm broadleaf forest 1,000-2,000 230-400
Chir pine (Pinus roxhburgii) forest 900-1,800 100-130
Cool broadleaf forest 2,000-2,900 250-500
Evergreen oak (Quercus semecarpifolia) forest 2,000-2,600 200-300
Blue pine (Pinus wallichiana) forest 2,100-3,000 70-120
Spruce (Picea spinulosa) forest 2,700-3,100 50-100
Hemlock (Tsuga dumosa) forest 2,800-3,100 130-200
Fir (Abies densa) forest 3,300-3,800 >130
Juniper/rhododendron 3,700-4,200

-1

Dry alpine scrub 4,000-4,600

-1

1No rainfall estimate given.

The climate is dominated by the monsoon, with a dry winter and high precipitation during June-September. Bhutan has a wide variety of climatic conditions influenced by topography, elevation and rainfall patterns. The great variation in rainfall within a relatively short distance is due to the effect of rain shadow but precipitation generally diminishes significantly from south to north (Table 3).

Land use and agricultural enterprises are influenced by the diverse climate and topography related to altitude. In the higher altitudes, farming is dependent on livestock, temperate fruit crops and crops such as potato, buckwheat, wheat and barley. Further south, towards the sub-tropical areas, rice and maize dominate the farming system. Cash crops such as cardamom and citrus also find an important niche with livestock as an integral component in the overall farming system.


4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

The traditional farming system evolved over centuries in Bhutan with the integration of crop production, grazing animals and forest areas into a mutually supportive system. Within this multi-composite farming system, large ruminant livestock plays a critical role by providing draft power, manure and livestock products for sale or home consumption.

There are three distinct types of large ruminant production systems in Bhutan. The transhumant Yak system is limited to the alpine-cool temperate areas; the migratory cattle in the temperate-sub-tropical area. These two systems take advantage of the variations in climate and vegetation as herders migrate with their animals according to the seasons. The third is the sedentary livestock rearing system in semi urban and other rural settlement areas.

Transhumance is associated with nomadic herders in the alpine-cool temperate areas who keep yaks and sheep as their sole source of livelihood. This system is mainly prevalent in the Dzongkhags of Haa, Thimphu, Paro, Gasa, Wangdue Phodrang, Bumthang and Trashigang. The migration takes place, depending on the number of pastures owned by the herders and their location, within village, within geog (sub unit of a district), within Dzongkhag (district) or between Dzongkhags (Gyamtsho, 1996, MOA, 2001). This production system is also influenced by the in-born nature of the yaks which keep on moving in response to temperature changes.

For the movement of their animals, the herders depend on the vast native grasslands between altitudes of 2,600 to 5,000 m. to feed their animals. Yak production in these areas and especially above the tree line (4,000 m.) is recognized as the only viable enterprise where the high altitude grasslands are efficiently converted into sources of energy for human use at no opportunity cost (Gyamtsho, 1996; Ura, 1993). In the summers the herders take their animals to pastures as high as 5,000 m. and come down in the winters to 2,600. Herders respect and follow their age-old traditional migratory routes to respective designated pastures in the various elevations for which they have traditionally grazing rights.

The annual migration to the summer pastures generally starts from late April to May and back to winter pastures in October. Gyamtsho (1996) notes that the migratory yak herds of Dhur village in Bumthang are moved and rotated very meticulously among pastures based on years of experience. The number of days grazed in each pasture are carefully worked out for the whole of the summer (Gyamtsho, 1996). The exception is where the yak have to stay in a particular pasture all summer because the herder owns only that pasture.

Sheep are grazed along with yaks and may belong to a number of owners who pay the herders in kind under a contract for rearing them. These sheep are usually handed back to their respective owners on migrating back to the valleys in winter. Although sheep supplement the family with wool that can be processed into household items, it is not considered important.

The butter and cheese from yaks are generally bartered for grain from the lower areas on a seasonal basis. Important cheese products that find a ready market are ‘chugo’ (dried cubes of cheese) from the west and central Bhutan and ‘zoetey’ (fermented cheese) from eastern Bhutan.

Migratory cattle in the temperate areas are local animals; herd size could range from 18 to over 100. Sometimes small herds are pooled for logistical and economic reasons. Movement of animals to the lower sub-tropical area starts in November – December and they only come back in April.

Despite the government’s efforts in discouraging migration in this agro-ecological zone through supply of improved exotic cattle breeds like Jerseys and Brown Swiss, migration is likely to be there for years to come. The following reasons encourage migration (MOA, 2001):

  • Strategy to address feed shortage in the winter
  • There are other income opportunities for herders (e.g. Porterage)
  • Social factors (retain ownership of pastures-crop land in the sub-tropical areas; display of wealth and status; unproductive animals cannot be culled for religious reasons)
  • To prevent registered grazing land from reverting to forests
  • Cultivation of crops in lower areas (Baumgartner, 1984)

A survey carried out by Muller-Jaag in 1983 (Muller-Jaag, 1984) indicated a decline in migration by 19 percent, and it has further declined since, although a complete ban on migration will not be possible in the immediate future. It can however, be mitigated through providing alternative sources of feed. The herders and the people’s representatives at the National Grazing Policy Workshop (MOA, 2001) also suggested that migration could be alleviated if rules and regulations governing Tsadrog (registered grazing land) ownership and management be modified and redefined. The resolution of legalities surrounding ownership of these grazing lands has been recognized as a prerequisite for developing the Bhutanese grasslands (Gyamtsho, 1996; RGOB, 1997; Roder, 1981a; Roder et. al, 2001).

In both the migratory systems described above, the herders follow a prescribed route (tsalam) to their respective grasslands. It is not uncommon to find more than one herd using a route. All herds then would have the right to use the route as well as the grazing rights to the grasslands of a specified night camp irrespective of whoever may own the particular grassland. This is called the "Lamjo Tsadrog" – roughly translated to "transit pasture". In the grasslands of upper Chokhor leading to the summer grasslands at Domjen, in Bumthang, there is an unwritten rule that no herd is allowed to pasture for more than three days in the lamjo tsadrog either way. It is noticed that because so many herds camp and pasture, the lamjo tsadrog are badly deteriorated and colonized by Rumex nepalensis.

The migratory habits of the herders also bring disadvantages:

  • Animal health services cannot be guaranteed
  • There is a risk of carrying diseases from one area to another
  • Services of cross bred bulls cannot be used since they cannot go on migration
  • There is heavy demand on family for manpower and time during migration
  • Migration depends on fodder trees along the route to supplement the fodder from the grasslands, resulting in indiscriminate lopping and sometimes felling of trees.

The sedentary livestock production system involves rearing of improved breeds of cattle like Jersey and Brown Swiss. In certain parts of eastern Bhutan, the large local migratory herds of cattle have been replaced with a few improved animals. This has been accompanied by planting fodder. These animals are stall fed at night and graze in the fodder paddocks during the day. Such enterprises have yielded a multifold increase in milk production with less demand on time and manpower compared to having a large herd of local cattle.

The benefit from such a switch over is raising interest especially in semi urban areas where there is a ready market for fresh milk. The Ministry of Agriculture will be giving major emphasis in the 9th five year plan to such enterprises.


5.FODDER RESOURCES

The fodder resources available to livestock vary with the climate, the farming system and the season. The important fodder resources are forest grazing; natural grassland; improved pasture; shifting cultivation and fallow land; fodder trees; crop residues and others (like arable fodder crops grown in croplands). Estimates by RGOB (1995) and Roder (1990) indicate that forest grazing and natural grassland grazing contribute about 23 percent and 30 percent respectively to the total fodder requirement. These two fodder sources have also been highlighted as the most important sources of fodder in an assessment of fodder resources in five livestock rearing Dzongkhags (Roder et al., 2001). The survey also showed that grazing fields after harvest was the most important source of winter fodder.

5.1 Fodder from Tsadrog (registered grazing land)

There are over 400,000 ha of registered grazing land (Tsadrog) in Bhutan (Table 5.1). Most of these are located above the tree line at elevations between 4000 to 5000 m. The area of registered grazing land available to cattle and yak is about 1.4 ha per animal. It is assumed that not all natural grasslands are registered. From this assumption, the total area of natural grasslands will be more than the tsadrog, contrary to what is given in the table below. This has happened probably because the natural grasslands estimated from aerial photographs were classified as forests because of substantial tree cover in some tsadrog areas (Roder et al. 2001).

The natural grasslands of Bhutan were first described by Singh (1978) into five types as: Saccharum reed dominant cover, 800-2,000 m; Chrysopogon-Themeda cover, 2,500-2,800 m; thin and short (dwarf) bamboo [Yushania microphylla] dominant cover, 2,500-3,000 m; high altitude scrub cover, above 2,800 m; alpine and sub-alpine cover, 3,500-5,000 m. A more useful classification of the natural grasslands has been provided by Miller (1988) in an unpublished report (quoted by Noltie, 2000, Table 5.2)

Table 5.1. Grassland Resources for individual Dzongkhags
Dzongkhag Tsadrog1 (‘000 ha) Natural Grassland2 (‘000 ha) Ha. per animal3
Haa

67.4

12.1

5.63

Gasa

10.0

23.3

3.25

Thimphu

55.2

33.4

2.48

Paro

32.6

8.2

2.20

Trongsa

22.9

6.5

1.89

Bumthang

26.8

21.4

1.86

Punakha

18.4

1.9

1.78

Wangdue

38.8

14.2

1.56

Zhemgang

23.3

1.0

1.39

Trashigang

40.2

10.9

1.04

Samtse

15.4

0.1

0.95

Chhukha

26.2

3.0

0.94

Dagana

8.0

1.6

0.76

Lhuentse

7.5

9.5

0.46

S. Jongkhar

10.2

0.8

0.43

Monggar

7.8

1.4

0.27

Trashi Yangtse

1.7

4.7

0.12

Pema Gatshel

0.9

0.0

0.11

Sarpang

0.2

1.2

0.02

Tsirang

0.0

0.1

0.00

Total

413.6

155.3

1.36

1Registered grazing land; 2grassland estimated from aerial photos or satellite imagery; 3area of tsadrog per number of cattle and yak combined. Source: Roder et al., 2001


Table 5.2 Grass Communities after Miller (1988) from Noltie 2000  
Grassland Type Altitude (m)
Cymbopogon grassland 700-2,100
Schizachyrium grassland 2,000-3,100
Danthonia grassland 3,000-4,000
Kobresia/Carex alpine meadow 3,900-4,800

Grassland communities are influenced by cultivation, fire and grazing. Grasslands between 700 to 2,100 m are dominated by Cymbopogon khasianus, Cymbopogon gryllus, Cymbopogon sp., Apluda mutica, Arundinella nepalensis, and Heteropogon contortus (Miller 1989). The important grasses and other vegetation above these elevations are Themeda sp., Schizachyrium delavayi, Eragrostis sp., Carex sp., Agrostis sp., Festuca sp., Poa sp., Rhododendron, Potentilla sp., Primula sp., and Danthonia sp.

Reliable production figures from the natural grasslands are scanty. The dry matter production based on visual estimates ranged from 0.7 to 3.0 t/ha for temperate grasslands at elevations of less than 3,000 m. and 0.3 to 3.5 t/ha for alpine grasslands at elevations over 3,000 m. (Singh, 1978; Harris, 1987; Rumball, 1988; Miller 1989; Gyamtsho, 1996).

Based on Dorjee’s (1986) carrying capacity for different agro-ecological zones and assuming that the average production per hectare from registered grasslands is 0.7 t/ha, the total annual dry matter production from tsadrog is 289,000 tonnes, enough to feed 30 percent (8 kg dry matter per day) of the Bhutanese livestock population (Roder et al., 2001).

The productivity of the natural grassland is further decreased when community pastures are grazed indiscriminately on a free-for-all basis (Dorjee, 1993; Gyamtsho, 1996). It is also not uncommon for two parties, such as a transhumant yak herder and a family from a nearby settlement, to have grazing rights over the same area putting extra pressure on the grasslands (Roder et al., 2001).

Deterioration of these grazing resources (the natural grasslands) have also been caused by the presence of poisonous and toxic plants; damage to grazing sites in Laya have also been caused by increased number of blue sheep (Pseudovis nayaur) and the burrowing habit of marmots (Gyamtsho, 1996).

5.2 Forest Grazing.

In a survey of five Dzongkhags, forest grazing has been rated as an important resource for ruminants (Roder, 1998).

Environmentalists and forest ecologists have tended to blame forest degradation and destruction on grazing. However, there is no quantitative information to prove that livestock grazing in forests causes degeneration (Roder et al., 2001). Studies by Gibson, (1991); RNR-RC Jakar, (1997); and Tegbaru, (1991) have indicated that forest grazing is not a major problem for forest regeneration and health. An assessment of forest grazing in Zhemgang Dzongkhag has actually concluded that grazing can be an efficient use of available resources (RGOB/ISDP, 1995).

While grazing may not have serious effects on the regeneration and health of well managed forests, it is a serious problem in forest ecosystems that have been disturbed by mechanical logging or by poor silvicultural management. These effects may be harmful especially in the sub-tropical broadleaf forests (Roder et al., 2001). Whether we like it or not, forest grazing will be there as long as migration takes place; so long as alternative feed sources are not provided and the legal issues on ownership and management of natural grasslands are not looked into.

Fallow. Grazing fallow arable fields is an important fodder source (Roder, 1998; Roder et al. 2001). The most important fallow systems that contribute substantially to the livestock fodder especially in the dry winter months are a) the maize system, b) Tseri system and the c) pangshing system (Table 5.3). Animals are allowed to graze these fields right after the crops are harvested. The quantity and quality of fodder within fields will be dependent on the crop, the weed flora and the harvesting systems used as can be seen in table 5.3 (Roder et al., 2001).

Table 5.3: Fodder from fallow land and selected characteristics of the major crop and fallow systems
Type Maize system Tseri1 Pangshing2
Area (ha) 55,000 40,000 10,000
Crops Maize Maize, millets, rice, buckwheat Buckwheat, wheat
Altitude range (m) 300-2,600 300-2500 2,500-4000
Major fallow vegetation Annual weeds Shrubs, trees Grasses, blue pine
Fallow period 4-8 months 2-8 years 6-20 years
Main feed Annual weeds, crop residues Annual weeds, shrubs Grasses
Dry matter (t/ha) 0.1-1.0 0.2-3.0 0.1-1.5
1 shrub-fallow shifting cultivation system used in subtropical areas;
2grass fallow shifting cultivation system used in temperate areas. Source: Roder et al., 2001.

5.4 Crop residues

Crop residues after post harvest operations are another important source of winter fodder. Different authors have put estimates of the contribution of crop residues to Bhutan’s total feed requirement at 13 percent (RGOB, undated); 20 percent (Roder, 1982); and at 43 percent by Verma (1984). Verma’s estimation was probably an overestimation (Roder et al. 2001).

Among crop residues, the important sources are rice straw, maize stover and buckwheat straw. Other important crop residues fed to livestock are inferior and broken grains, husks and other chaff, residues from chang (any alcoholic drink, fermented from wheat, barley, maize or millet) and ara (home-made alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented grain of wheat, barley, maize, rice or millet) making and by-products of milling grain (Roder et al., 2001).

5.5 Annual arable crops

The important annual arable crops grown for livestock are turnip, radish and pumpkin, maize, wheat, barley and oats. These are grown at elevations between 2,500 and 4,200 m. and are fed to milking cows, growing animals, draught animals and pigs throughout the winter. Farmers at higher elevations may cultivate turnips up to 0.3 ha annually (Roder et al., 2001). In two villages of Wangdue Dzongkhag, turnip was the main winter fodder for 87 percent of the households (Roder 1998).

Maize is grown and fed to draught animals in sub-tropical areas like Zhemgang and Sarpang during the months of May and June. Wheat and barley are cultivated over a wide range of production systems including the rice systems of Paro and Thimphu and the wheat-barley systems found at higher elevations in Wangdue and Trongsa dzongkhags. Oats have partly replaced wheat and barley as winter forage in the rice growing areas of Paro, Thimphu, Wangdue and Trongsa (Roder et al., 2001).

5.6 Tree Fodder

Livestock production is also dependent on the fodder trees. Fodder trees are mainly planted near houses, along fences and field boundaries (Tshering et al., 1997). A large variety of trees are used for fodder production (Roder, 1985). The trees used and management practices differ according to the altitude, the availability of other types of fodder and the existing land use practices (Roder et al., 2001).

Depending on the altitude, the most popular fodder trees currently used are Ficus roxburghii, Ficus cunia, Salix babylonica and Quercus semicarpifolia. There are no area based yield data for the tree fodder in Bhutan. However, yield extrapolation for temperate species from single tree measurements have estimated the yield of different tree fodder at 4 t/ha/year for willow; 2t/ha/year for evergreen oak, 4 t/ha/yr for Populus robusta and 12 t/ha/year for Chinese pear (Roder, 1992). As far as the nutritional content of the tree fodders are concerned, most are inferior to herbaceous species except for willow which has excellent nutritional qualities and high palatability (Roder, 1992; Wangdi et al., 1997).

[For full details of the pasture resources of Bhutan see Roder et al., 2001 and for details of fodder production in Bhutan see the Handbook for Extension Agents (January 2002) produced by RNR Research Centre Jakar/Bumthang (Livestock Research Program, 2002)].

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6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FODDER RESOURCES

The concept of growing fodder (conventional fodder grasses and legumes) for livestock is relatively new in Bhutan. This has posed difficulties when farmers had to spare land for fodder development. It was usually the marginalized land not suited for any other crops that was put under fodder. However, this is changing as the inherent limitations of the country’s topography and climate for sustainable field crop production are becoming more obvious and accepted by the policy makers and planners (Roder et al. 2001).

There are fodder technologies suitable to the different agro-ecological zones. With the increase in cross bred animal numbers, demand for better quality and high producing fodder crops could only increase in the near future. Livestock enterprises involving dairying will assume a greater role where crop production is difficult. However a sustainable dairying enterprise will not be possible without adequate fodder resources, among other things. Existing opportunities to improve fodder availability in Bhutan will be enhanced if the following are considered:

  • The review of the draft pasture policy is expedited following the recommendations made during the National Grazing Policy Workshop held in Bumthang in 2001.
  • Amendment to the rules and regulations of natural grasslands regarding ownership, use and management. This will act as incentives to the livestock farmers to make investments in these grasslands to increase their productivity.
  • Fodder grown on crop land and fodder trees planted on registered land of any class should be accounted for in the Land Act and given importance at par with other arable crops.
  • Optimizing land use and fodder production from synergistic association of fodder crops with field crops, horticultural crops and tree crops will have to be increasingly emphasized to address the shortage of land made available to fodder development.

7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

Research in Bhutan is carried out through the four national research centres which are charged with a national and a regional mandate. The Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre Jakar (RNR-RC Jakar) based in the east central region is the national coordinating centre for all types of livestock research in Bhutan.

The livestock research programme is structured into four broad sub-programs viz. Livestock Breeding and Management, Feed and Fodder, Animal Health and Socio Economy. The priority area of research is in Feed and Fodder. Within the feed and fodder subprogram, priority research areas are addressing winter fodder shortages and looking at synergistic and complementary effects of fodder production in combination with arable crops, horticulture and forestry systems (Roder 1998; Roder et al., 2001). For the ninth five year plan (2002-2007), emphasis for livestock research under different sub-programmes will be as below:

1) Feed and Fodder 60 percent, 2) Breeding and Management, 30 percent and 3) Health, 10 percent. The low emphasis given to the last two sub-programme is because it is assumed that technologies pertaining to these two, could to a large extent be imported from outside Bhutan with little or no need for further adaptation (RNR-RC Jakar, 2002).

The mandate to implement the animal health sub-programme has been delegated to the Royal Veterinary Epidemiological Centre (RVEC), Serbithang Thimphu due to the existing expertise lying with the RVEC. It is however proposed to be brought back under the RNR-RC Jakar in the 9th five year plan as the Jakar Centre gradually builds its own expertise.

Livestock research in other regions are carried out through the Livestock sector based in the other three centres. The three other national research centres are RNR-RCs, Yusipang, based in western region (Forestry); Bajo based in the west central region (Field Crops) and Khangma based in the eastern region (Horticulture).

The key people working in livestock research and based in the different RNR Research Centres are given below:

RNR Research Centre, Jakar

  • Mr. Kinzang Wangdi, Programme Director. His interest is in grassland ecology and native fodder grasses
  • Dr. Walter Roder, Research Advisor. His interest is in farming systems, fodder crops and slash and burn agriculture.
  • Dr. Tashi Dorji, Programme Officer. His work includes phenotypic and genotypic description of livestock.
  • Mr. Rinzin, Head, Feed and Fodder Sector. He is currently working on the nutritive description of Ficus auriculata.
  • Mr. Kezang Wangchuk, Research Officer. He is currently working on Lucerne.

RNR Research Centre, Khangma.

  • Mr. Chencho Dukpa, Research Officer. He is currently working on feeding and management of poultry and swine.
  • Dr. M.P Timsina, Programme Officer. He is also working on the management aspects of piggeries.
  • RNR Research Centre, Bajo

  • Mr. Dawa Lhakpa Sherpa, Research Assistant.

RNR Research Centre, Yusipang

  • Mr. Tshering Gyaltshen, Programme Officer. He is currently working with oats and other fodder crops in wetland systems.

8. REFERENCES

Baumgartner, R. (1984). A Short Note on Seasonal Cattle Migration in Bumthang. Zurich: Helvetas

Dorjee, J. (1986). Estimation of Animal Feed Requirements in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Thimphu: AHD

Dorjee, J. (1993). Livestock Development and Pasture Management. Thimphu: National Environment Commission.

Dorji, K. (1995). An Analysis of Comparative Advantages in Bhutanese Agriculture. PhD Dissertation. Zurich: ETH.

Ganser, A. (1983). The Geology of the Bhutan Himalaya. Basel:Birkhaeuser Verlag

Gibson, T.A. (1991). Forest Grazing Study. Working document No. 26. (FAO:DP/BHU/85016). Thimphu: Department of Forests RGOB and FAO.

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9. CONTACTS

The author is the Programme Director of the RNR-RC Jakar. He has been associated with fodder development in Bhutan, since 1987. He has a Masters degree in Pasture Agronomy from Lincoln University, New Zealand.

The Programme Director of RNR Research Centre Jakar will be the custodian of the profile. The contact address is as follows:

The Programme Director

Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre Jakar,

Ministry of Agriculture,

P.O. Bumthang.

Bhutan.

Tele: +975-03-631195/631224

Fax: +975-03-631218

Email: rcjakar@druknet.bt

[The profile was lightly edited by J.M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in May and November 2002]