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Development of yak products and their processing and marketing

K. Kachkynbaeva

Presidential Administration, House of Government, Bishkek, 720003, Kyrgyz Republic


As a unique animal inhabiting the very high mountain pastures, yak has no competition from any domestic livestock, but there is some competition from the wild animals. Breeding in ecologically clean environment, rich in energetically saturated forage, yak produce extremely valuable food materials (meat, milk, fat) and non-food items (wool, leather, faeces, horn, blood, bones etc.). Only a few mountainous countries have yak breeds. These countries have a unique opportunity to improve their economic and social life by effectively exploiting the yak and its products. Kyrgyzstan is among these countries and Kyrgyz people living in high mountainous regions have good tradition of breeding yak and processing yak raw materials.

Entering a new stage of independence, Kyrgyzstan needs new initiatives and ideas for economic and social development. In the National Program on Preparation and Conducting the International Year of Mountains, yak development is identified as one of the main priorities of the economic development of the mountain regions of Kyrgyzstan. A working group of scientists and practical workers has been formed and adopted by the Prime Minister's decree, with the mandate to work out the 'Strategy of the Complex Development of Yak Breeding in Kyrgyzstan' and a 'Project devoted to the implementation of the strategy'.

The main objective of the Project is to use the unique yak raw materials and available modern technologies of processing to produce high quality products meeting international standards for domestic and international markets so as to contribute to the development of economic and social life of the mountainous regions and the country as a whole.

There is no doubt that, from the ecologically clean environment, if yak raw materials are processed into unique and high quality products using modern advanced technologies. If, in addition, marketing is well organised, there could be a great opportunity for accessing expanded internal and external markets. In turn, expanded market of the unique yak products can provide an excellent chance to develop yak production in the region and to enhance the economic and social life of people living there.

The last is the main target and the final result of the whole process of yak breeding and processing yak raw materials and marketing products.

In the process of working on the strategy for yak development, we in Kyrgyzstan have identified several challenges. These challenges must also be facing other yak-rearing countries. Therefore, their solution is of interest not only for Kyrgyzstan but also for all so-called yak countries and others who are interested in yak products.

  1. So far there is no national or international standard on yak products––on food products as well as non-food ones. This makes it very difficult to develop marketing. To overcome this problem, there should be certain research implemented to develop national and international standards on yak products.
  2. There is very little information concerning marketing of yak products. For instance, in Kyrgyzstan there is only some market information on fresh yak meat. This problem is closely related with the first one. If there are standards the yak marketing will have very important base for promoting yak products, not only in domestic market, but also international as well. Creation of a stable yak products marketing system could be helpful.

  3. There are some traditional technologies to process yak raw materials (meat, milk, leather, wool, bones etc.). However, there is need to develop modern, progressive technologies to process ecologically clean yak raw materials to produce modern products to meet market demands.

  4. Modern progressive technologies to process ecologically clean yak raw materials to produce modern products need equipment and machinery. Most of these may need to be imported, a process which calls for the involvement of private entrepreneurs— industrial enterprises and companies.

  5. It is extremely important to establish yak raw materials processing enterprises not far from the yak breeding regions so as to create jobs, increase income of mountainous regions, develop marketing and social infrastructure and so on. This would have a positive impact on the living standards of people in the yak-rearing areas.

In the context of the National Yak Development Program we would like to present to different donor organisations components of the complex project so as to get financial support. These components include a programme for the development of pedigreed yak herds, establishment of a non-governmental organisation dealing with yak development at the national level, and training programmes for yak farmers on methods of breeding and production of yak products, scientific programme on developing the standards for high quality yak products for domestic and international markets, and a programme to develop a market system for yak products.

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