Over the past few years, Ujjwal Chapagain has been a renowned name in the agriculture industry because of his involvement in the rabbit meat market in Nepal. With my conversation with Mr. Chapagain, I came to know about the incredible journey that he made to come to this level.
Mr. Chapagain completed his high schooling by taking science as his field of interest. After high school, he wanted to do something different than mainstream subjects. During this stage of exploring, he decided that he wanted to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Environment, as it was a field of growing scope and had attained a good recognition itself.
He had tremendous support from his family which raised his self-confidence along the way. During this time, he had been able to find some exposure in his college and was also actively volunteering in various organizations to test his interests and limits. He continued on this journey by completing his Masters degree in Environment Management.
With the introduction to a much broader aspect of environment science, Mr. Chapagain sought internship opportunities in the same field and soon came in contact with an NGO named Development Center Nepal Water and Sanitation. After the completion of his Masters’, he was instantly hired by the same NGO as a Program Officer. This added more responsibilities to his shoulders, where he was mainly focused on organic agriculture and how to bring a positive impact in the community. He worked in Development Center Nepal for a period of about six years.
After six years of work, Mr. Chapagain was tired of the monotony and decided that it was time to move on to something different. He found that the missing link was his desire to inspire people; to attract and encourage them in the field of environmental science. This came as a shock to his family who were completely against his decision. After a prolonged series of heated discussions and intense family pressure, it was his decision in the end to choose what he wanted to do with his life.
Mr. Chapagain was again in the same verge of exploring and discovering new ideas. During this stage, he became very interested in the word ‘entrepreneurship’. After a lot of experience in the field of environment and its sustainability, he wanted to be engaged in agriculture; grow economically as well as contribute to sustain the economy of the country. This led to the establishment of a farm and an outlet with a few partners.
In a matter of time, it was obvious that the farm was not providing much growth. This experience made Mr. Chapagain realize that it is very essential for like-minded people to come together as a group to become partners in a certain business. With his vast knowledge in the agriculture sector, he saw an opportunity in rabbit farming, which no one was doing at a commercial scale in Nepal, and hence led to the establishment of rabbit farm on August of 2012.
Through the years, learning and taking risks along the way, the rabbit meat industry has now gained some level reputation for itself. Through advancement in technologies and promotional strategies, Mr. Chapagain is thinking to contribute and increase the consumption of rabbit meat in Nepal, as they are more efficient and even environment friendly due to the ease of rearing rabbits.
With his initiative in the promotion of rabbit farming in Nepal, there has been an increase in the demand for training regarding rabbit farming. People have regularly been inquiring about such trainings and Mr. Chapagain provides such trainings every two or three months. Commercially two or three such rabbit farms are operating at a small scale, and a lot more are farming rabbits at a household level. A rabbit farmers’ association is in the process of being registered for such entrepreneurs who are interested in the rabbit sector. This association would work for the promotion of rabbit farming in Nepal regarding the product, processing and technological aspects. The market although in its early stage, is on the rise.
Through the hardships and failures over the past few years, the outcomes are finally visible in the rabbit meat industry. Yet, there are still problems to overcome, with continuous support and awareness, the market is bound to thrive more in the future.