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A rapid appraisal study carried out by ICIMOD and ILRI in collaboration with National Partner Institutions (NPIs) in four regions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya has demonstrated the fact that promotion of market oriented smallholder dairy farming in the hills/mountains can contribute positively to improving the livelihoods of small and marginal farmers, while conserving the fragile ecosystem. In the region, smallholder dairy farming is not a specialized enterprise, rather it is an integral part of mixed crops-livestock farming systems where a farm household owns one to two dairy animals along with other large and small animals on a small land holding ranging from 0.25 hectare to 1.00 hectare. Use of improved dairy animals and improved feed technologies have enabled smallholders to increase income and employment and improve family welfare including those of women and children. Based on the successful experience in some pocket areas it should be possible to replicate such model and experience in other degraded uplands of the hills/mountains for improving the livelihoods of small and poor farmers.


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