Transition towards sustainable yak farming in Bhutan: stakeholders’ viewpoints and recommendations for future steps

Nedup Dorji*, Marjolein Derks, Peter W.G. Groot Koerkamp, Eddie A.M. Bokkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Bhutanese government initiated a highland development programme in the year 2016 to promote yak farming because the number of yak farming families is declining. However, there are several cross-cutting policies and issues that affect successful implementation of interventions to support yak farming in transition. We studied the challenges and opportunities to sustain yak farming and related trade-offs around problems and solutions through individual and focus group interviews with six stakeholder groups (i.e. herders from two regions, extensionists, park rangers, livestock officials, and forest officials). Overall the herders rated forage availability and yak mortality as the main threats to yak farming, while government officials rated labour availability as the main threats. Most problems and solutions that were identified in the focus group interviews had diverging views among the stakeholder groups. There is clearly a need for a multi-stakeholder dialogue aiming to discuss problems and solutions together. This should take away misleading and disputed claims, and provide understanding about the approach to cope with risks and uncertainty around transhumance yak-based communities. A strong collaboration should lead to appropriate policy, which would reduce challenges and barriers, and simultaneously give opportunities to herders and their children to stay in yak farming in future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-87
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number1
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


  • convergence/divergence framework
  • policy
  • stakeholder group
  • sustainability
  • Transhumance


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