The Rising Popularity of Nepali Dog Chew: A Potential Export Worth Rs3 Billion

The Rising Popularity of Nepali Dog Chew: A Potential Export Worth Rs3 Billion
Credit goes to Kathmandu Post

In the realm of pet care, the demand for natural and healthy products has been on the rise. One such product that has gained significant popularity is the dog chew made from yak milk, particularly those produced in the eastern highlands of Nepal. This article delves into the growing demand for Nepali dog chew, its production process, and its potential to become a top export product.

The Unlikely Contender for Nepal's Top Export

Dog chew, a hard cheese made from yak milk, has become an unexpected contender for Nepal's top export. The product has gained immense popularity among pet owners in North America, particularly in the United States and Canada. The demand for this product has been so high that traders are struggling to keep up, with dog chew exports now competing closely with Nepal's traditional major foreign currency earner, tea.

The Rising Demand for Dog Chew

The demand for dog chew saw a sharp increase during the Covid-19 lockdowns when people bought more pets while staying at home. According to the Department of Customs, exports of dog chew jumped by 38 percent to 1,744 tonnes in the last fiscal year 2021-22, with the export value swelling by 48 percent to Rs2.91 billion. Given the current flow of export orders, traders are optimistic that dog chew shipments will cross Rs3 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.

The Unique Appeal of Nepali Dog Chew

Nepali dog chew is prepared from Himalayan yak milk at high elevations, which has contributed to its wide popularity. The product contains no added preservatives, colors, or chemicals and is prepared manually using traditional techniques. The dog chew is fully natural, making it a unique pet feed compared to other products available in the international market. Moreover, Nepali dog chew does not have problems like staining and odor compared to other pet food.

The Production Process and Challenges

The process of making dog chew involves boiling the milk, separating the whey, and then shaping and drying the remaining curd. The resulting hard cheese is then sliced into sticks and let dry and smoke for a month. Despite the increasing demand, manufacturers face challenges such as a shortage of milk and rising prices. They have requested the government to lift the restriction on imports of milk to avert possible shortages in the domestic market.

The Potential of Dog Chew Exports

Nepal produces approximately 3,000 tonnes of dog chew annually, half of which is exported. The major buyers are the US, Canada, the UK, Japan, and Hong Kong. However, there is also great demand for dog chewing in Europe, which currently does not allow the entry of dairy products from Nepal. If the government can ensure quality, there is huge potential for Nepali dog chew exports to Europe.

The rising popularity of Nepali dog chew presents a significant opportunity for the country's export sector. However, to fully realize this potential, it is crucial to address the challenges in production and ensure the quality of the product. With the right strategies and support, the dog chew industry in Nepal can become a major contributor to the country's economy.