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Nepalese forage grass brings prosperity over the Himalayas

(Xinhua)    17:10, December 25, 2019

LHASA, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- A row of trucks full of verdant forage grass were particularly conspicuous in Sagya County, under the city of Xigaze in Tibet Autonomous Region, as everything else was covered with thick white snow.

Fresh grass, mixed with corn, bran, soybean meal and salt, was processed into pellets to help tens of thousands of cattle and sheep in Tibet to get through the frigid winter.

The grass came from the other side of the Himalayas in Nepal's Chitwan, where flat plains and the pleasant climate provide a superior environment for grass planting.

In April, a Xigaze-based agricultural investment company invested over 17 million yuan (2.43 million U.S. dollars) in planting and purchasing Chitwan's grass. Over 400 tonnes of grass has been transported to Tibet so far.

Liu Wei, president of Tianyu International Pvt. Ltd., said large shipments are expected before and after the Chinese Spring Festival, which will fall in January.

He said thanks to the short growth cycle and high yields, the price for Nepalese grass is only 1.6 yuan per kg including the freight cost, cheaper than locally produced hay which costs about 2.6 yuan per kg.

Liu said the total investment of the project will reach 90 million yuan. When the six bases that integrate forage grass production and processing are built, the annual grass output will reach 198,000 tonnes, creating jobs for 30,000 Nepalese residents.

Ramesh Dhital, 35, earns about 35,000 Nepalese rupees (315 U.S. dollars) a month from purchasing forage grass from local farmers, three times his previous income doing part-time jobs.

Farmers grow grass during the fallow season to make extra money from their land. An average income of 2,000 yuan is expected for each household.

In Xigaze, the incoming grass has also brought wealth to local Tibetans. Penpa, 33, earns 200 yuan a day unloading grass to a provender mill.

He used to work in Nagqu and Ngari, cities far away from his family. Now he works near home and earns more.

About 111,800 farmers and herders, including over 70,000 from low-income families, are involved in 778 grass processing and animal breeding cooperatives in Xigaze, partially thanks to Nepalese grass.

"With the coming construction of the Nepalese bases, Tibet's import of forage grass will soon increase, which will improve beef and mutton yields," Liu said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shi Xi, Bianji)

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