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Goat breeding program sees Gippsland boers head to Nepal to sow their excellent genes

Stud breeder Carole Axton in the paddock with her Boer goats in Gippsland Victoria.
Stud breeder Carole Axton with her boer breed goats in Gippsland, bound for Nepal.

ABC Rural: Cherie von Hörchner

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Victorian boer goats are winging their way to the Himalayas as part of a program that injects their excellent genes into the goat population of Nepal.

Carole Axton of Cadenza Boer Goat Stud in Gippsland has already overseen the relocation of hundreds of goats to the south Asian republic.

They are a primary source of food and income for much of the 26 million population — almost a quarter of which lives below the poverty line.

"A few years ago there was a tender that came up for live goats and semen for Nepal," Ms Axton said of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) program, held in conjunction with the Nepalese Government.

"They had an aim that they would try not to import so many goats from India which sends a lot of money out of Nepal.

Ms Axton said the aim of the program was to make rural families, which often own several goats, more self-sufficient by increasing the quality of the goats they raise.

Goats account for over 20 per cent of the Nepal's meat consumption, with neighbouring India exporting over 400,000 goats each year to Nepal to meet demand.

Indigenous goats from Nepal stand in pen.
Local goats, pictured, are bred with the Australian imports as part of in-country genetic program.

Supplied: Carole Axton

"What they wanted to do was to bring boer goat genetics to put it over the local goats to get increased growth," she said.

"So this is a big bonus for them."

Ms Axton said the goats are flown to Nepal in first class conditions.

Government vet checks the goats before flight
The boer goats receive a final check-up by an Australian Government vet before flying to Nepal.

Supplied: Carole Axton

"There are no freight aircraft to Nepal, so these goats actually go on passenger aircraft, in the freight area in a special crate that is required to have a certain amount of space.

"Before they go to the airport, they're inspected by Government vets. It's really a complicated process.

"For example, even where they're in transit, they have to be taken to a special area and it's kept at a special temperature so that the goats do not get heat stress.

"Instructions are given to the captain on the temperature that the goats have to be kept at in the freight area of the aircraft."

Gippsland Boer goats arrive in Nepal.
Australian boer goats arrive in Nepal inside wooden crates.

Supplied: Carole Axton

Ms Axton said the goats deal with the 16-hour flight in much the same way as human travellers.

"The goats are actually very good travellers," she said.

Once at their destination, Ms Axton said the goats embark on a life much better than the one they left behind.

Nepalese famers stands next to their Australian-bred Boer goat.
Gippsland Boer goat settles into new home.

Supplied: Carole Axton

"I went to Nepal last August and I saw the goats we'd sent to very remote areas and breeding centres.

"They are looked after like kings and queens.

"It's a very pleasing thing to know that not only are they doing some good. but are being treated extremely well."

A female Nepalese famer stands next to her new Boer goat as it eats grass.
Gippsland Boer goat settles into new home.

Supplied: Carole Axton