High altitude poultry farm strikes gold

- BINOD TRIPATHI, MUSTANG

Apr 30, 2017-

Yognath Rijal of Parbat district established first-ever poultry farm in Jomsom, a town located at an altitude of 2700 metres in Mustang district three years ago. 

Back then it was risk as a poultry farm in general was supposed to be set up in place having moderate temperature. Given Jomsom is one of the coldest regions in the country, many were skeptic about the decision. 

Three years down the line his decision seems to have paid off well. Rijal earns Rs 1.2 million, per year from the farm. Jomsom, which has a high density of hotels, has a huge demand for meat. Rijal has addressed the demand for chicken. Not just locals, even foreigners visiting the region are full of praise of Rijal’s initiative which had begun with an investment of Rs 400,000. The farm started off with just 500 chickens. Investment increased gradually as several measures were taken to maintain the temperature in the farm.

“Profit in the very first year stood at Rs 5, 000,” Rijal said. “It was really difficult to ship chicken and feed from Pokhara. It still is.” It takes over 15 hours to ship such items to Jomsom from Pokhara. Transportation cost too is high. With an increase in profits, Rijal now has his own vehicle which has relatively eased transportation. 

While profits have maximised with time, a number of issue still persists, says Rijal. Firstly, Jomsom is dependent on energy generated by micro-hydropower projects. Secondly, availability of energy isn’t regular. Hence, they are compelled to rely heavily on solar energy. 

“It is really difficult to manage issues related with temperature, feed and medication among others efficiently,” Rijal said adding that chicken meat produced in cold region, however, is much healthier than others. 

Traders from places like Kagbeni, Muktinath, Marfa, Tukuche and Ghasa visit his farm to buy chicken. He also regularly supplies chicken items to Nepal Army and Nepal Police along with other government offices in the region. 

While Rijal is now an established entrepreneur, he started off  by going to the middle-east to look for a job. After witnessing hardships and moderate income he chose to return Nepal and do something on his own. He visited Jomsom in 2012. He was 26 at that time. 

“I saw many hotels in this region. However, they used to import chicken from Pokhara,” Rijal said, clarifying the reason behind his determination to open a poultry farm in Jomsom. 

Published: 30-04-2017 08:09

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