Agriculture Technology To Feed The Future Of Nepal

Agriculture Technology To Feed The Future Of Nepal

Poultry farming has remained one of the major income sources of Nepalese farmers since decades. Poultry is one of the major sources of food security and protein for the growing Nepali population, both urban and rural. 

Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), causing Newcastle Disease (ND), is a major hurdle to increasing poultry production. ND has become a troubling viral disease in both commercial and backyard chickens. Outbreak of this virus can cause devastating losses, as high as 80% mortality in chickens.

One To Watch, in addition to the investment it committed, facilitated Biovac Nepal in securing supplementary access to grant capital from Netherlands Enterprise Agency. With this, Biovac Nepal was able to establish arguably the first state of art vaccine research and manufacturing facility in Nepal. 

Biovac is now in the third year of its operation. It is a core-tech company that uses the latest technology in molecular sciences to understand disease burden, dynamics, evaluate vaccine targets and manufacture vaccines that have high efficiency rates. The company is now at the final stage of testing its thermos-stable I-2 vaccines (meaning, it can be stored in room temperature for a specific amount of time, normally 4-6 months), which protects poultry from Newcastle Disease. 

In Nepal, farmers have been using thermo-unstable Newcastle vaccine imported primarily from India, Italy and South Korea. Due to lack of good transportation system in rural areas, it is challenging to make these vaccines accessible in such areas as it requires cold chain storage, at all times. This is the gap that Biovac Nepal intends to cater with its thermostable I2 vaccines.

Protein-energy malnutrition is an ongoing problem in developing countries like Nepal. This can lead to stunted growth in children. With its thermostable vaccines, Biovac Nepal aims to curb stunted growth in children by saving poultry, improving access of vaccines in rural areas and backyard chicken farms, and ultimately ensuring proper nutritional requirements in growing children.