The Government of Nepal, assisted by the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are engaged in duck raising and fish-cum-farming in an integrated inland fishery development project. The aim of the duck raising programme is to produce ducklings for distribution to rural people in order to use them for fish-cum-farming or duck raising only. In fish-cum-duck farming, the duck excreta provides additional nutrients to the pond and consequently increases fish production.
As part of the project operation, FAO assigned Mr. Ukrit Im-erb, a consultant, from 2 October 1978 to 1 December 1978 with the following terms of reference: to introduce improved management methods in fish farms in Pokhara, Bhairawa and Hetauda, attend to technical aspects such as improvement of fertility and hatchability rates, improved feeds and feeding schedules, prevention and cure of the commoner duck diseases, and train the respective technicians in these methods, also to look into the feasibility of commercial duck raising by the private sector and recommend schemes for such enterprises.
In 1970, Pekin ducks were introduced as a gift from the Government of Hungary to Nepal. This pure strain was bred at the Hetauda fish farm and the ducklings sold to the local people. In 1974, Pekin ducklings were sent to the Fisheries Development Centres in Bhairawa and Pokhara, where eggs were subsequently distributed to villages for incubation aided by brood hens.
In April 1975, the New Zealand Freedom from Hunger Campaign Action for Development Committee, through the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok donated 1 200 fertilized eggs of Ng Chow duck, a cross between Pekin and local Hong Kong duck, from Hong Kong to Nepal. The Ng Chow ducks are now being raised at Hetauda and Bhairawa farms.
On 29 August 1977 two thousand Pekin ducklings were donated by the Hungarian FAO Committe to Nepal and were distributed to the fish farms in Hetauda, Bhairawa and Pokhara. They are now being raised at all the three farms.
It is interesting to mention that rural people also keep a nondescript type of duck in small numbers for consumption during some religious occasions.
Rural people have been encouraged to take up duck raising as a source of additional protein and income and, in the case of fish farmers, in helping to produce more fish, through the nutrient supply to pond water of duck manure. These improved strains of duck are growing very fast, especially Pekin duck; moreover, its flesh is far tastier with no fishy odour. Therefore, raising improved strains of duck is fast becoming popular. The public demand for these meat type ducklings is quite high from all the three Fisheries Development Centres. At the same time it was felt that considerable improvements could be made with regard to egg production, hatchability rates and overall management.