Regional collaboration for improvement of local cattle and buffalo in Asia

The Kanihari Union is a local government unit in Bangladesh, situated about 90 km north of Dhaka. The Union covers a geographic area of about 8 km in radius and is home to approximately 7000 households. Approximately 250 of these households are engaged in managing herds of buffaloes and cattle. Individual households have one to five livestock; with a majority of the households having one to three animals. Farmers in this community are happy with their present market facilities as a milk distributor is located nearby and farmers receive around 50 cents (US$) per kg for buffalo milk and about 30 cents per kg for cows' milk.

Regional collaboration for improvement of local cattle and buffalo in Asia However, these farmers are not without problems affecting their productivity. First, due in part to the market for meat and the possible problems of inbreeding in a closed population, the number of bulls available for breeding is scarce. In addition, little attention has been paid to selection to improve the genetics of these animals. Secondly, the farmers have only limited access to veterinary services.

In conjuction with the Regional TC project (RAS5044), a sustainable programme has been developed to address the difficulties of breeding both cattle and buffaloes. This programme involves the importation of semen from India, a collaborator with Bangladesh in RAS5044. This programme will provide a sustainable source of new genetics and will take advantage of progeny testing programs already existing in India. In addition, the AI technicians will also provide an animal health service, providing the farmers of the Kanihari Union with advantages that they've never had before. This story is a classic example of the benefits that the regional TC project concept can deliver.