Today, we rarely find a restaurant in Kathmandu that doesn’t include buff items on the menu. Be it mo: mo, sausages, chowmein, dry meat or any other meat delicacies, the majority of Kathmandu residents choose buff over any other meat. In fact, Kathmandu is the highest buff meat consumption area in Nepal, because of its high popularity in Newari community (the largest ethnic group in Kathmandu). Not just Kathmandu, but other areas of the country have also seen a growing preference for buffalo meat due to its high nutritional value and benefits. As per Ministry of Agriculture Development 2016, 13% of the agricultural contribution in Nepal comes from the livestock sector. Out of which, 6% comes from buffalo meat and milk industry. This has also increased the general interest in buff meat industry among entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in Nepal.
The indigenous buffalo breeds found in Nepal are Lime, Parkote, and Gaddi that reside in mid hill, river valleys, and high mountains. Besides, there are Murrah buffalo breeds and crossbred buffaloes in the Terai belts of the country. Murrah and Nili-Ravi buffaloes from India have been introduced in Nepal recently.
According to Ministry of Agriculture Development’s Livestock Population Report 2015/16, there are around 5 million buffaloes scattered across the nation.
|Year||Population of buffalo in Nepal|
|2015/16||5, 168, 809|
With the increasing number of buffalo population in Nepal, the net production of buffalo meat has also increased over the years. And, per capita buffalo meat consumption in Nepal was around 12.21 kg (as per Our World in Data) in 2013, which is projected to increase in the coming years.
|Year||Net meat Production/Mt|
The central region of Nepal is the major importing point of live buffalo from India. The imported buffaloes are mostly transported to Kathmandu and Pokhara. The western region has the second highest demand for buffalo meat in the country due to heavy demands from restaurants and hotels in Pokhara. However, there is no regularly-opened livestock market in Kaski district excluding seasonal market (generally from July-September). Additionally, Belbari, Banke, Bara, and Bardiya are other influential areas for buffalo meat industry in Nepal with major livestock markets and collection centers. Comparatively, the Far-Western region has the lowest priority in livestock marketing and has more market channels to India rather than the domestic market.
The most popular enterprises on buffalo meat industry in Nepal are buffalo fattening enterprises, fresh and dried meat, frozen meat, meat processing industries and slaughter slab operators or retailers.
The actors involved in the value chain for buffalo meat industry in Nepal are given below:
Live buffaloes in Nepal are mostly sourced from India/China. Bara is a major transit point for the movement of buffalo between Nepal and India. Kohalpur Livestock Collection Center is considered to be the most important center for transporting buff meat to Kathmandu. Meanwhile, Narayangadh- Mugling-Kathmandu is considered the best route to transport buffaloes to Kathmandu from all ends of Nepal due to the poor road conditions in other routes.
Buffalo meat industry of Nepal is still experiencing a market gap due to the demand-supply problem and unmanaged market. This opens new prospects and possibilities for entrepreneurs to fill the gaps by expanding the market or strengthening the already existing market. Also, investment in research and development is quintessential to enrich sustainable productivity growth and efficient strategy planning for this industry in Nepal.
[This article has been prepared with references to Jica Report on ‘The Study on the Agricultural Marketing in Nepal’ and report on ‘Economic Important Traits of Buffalo and their Implication’ by Bijesh Mishra.]