Nepal’s Dairy Sector Marks Major Milestone with First Calf Born by Holstein Cows Gifted from Korea

By Heifer International

February 14, 2024

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, Feb. 14, 2024 — Nepal welcomed the first birth in the country of a purebred Holstein calf on February 6, marking a major milestone in an ambitious project that saw 100 high-quality heifers and 8 breeding bulls donated to Nepal from Korea.

The calf’s arrival in the village of Kamalamai in Sindhuli District, Nepal, is a significant achievement for the Milky Way Project, a joint initiative between the governments of South Korea and Nepal that is facilitated by global development organization Heifer International. The project aims to transform Nepal’s dairy sector through the genetic improvement of cattle stock and improved dairy practices.

In December 2022, under the nationwide initiative mobilized by Heifer Korea, South Korean dairy farmers and donors gifted 100 purebred Holstein heifers, 6 breeding bulls and high-quality frozen semen in a gesture of cooperation and goodwill between the two nations. In March 2023, a further two super breeding bulls, worth USD $250,000 each, were shipped to Nepal, to furnish the country’s dire need for top-tier genetic material. The gift will facilitate the establishment of a nucleus herd, producing high-quality milking cows, to boost dairy productivity and quality in Nepal, thereby improving the livelihoods of an estimated half a million Nepali smallholder farming households.

The first-born calf — named Gamsa in Korean and Dhanyabaad in Nepalese, both meaning “thank you” — belongs to a smallholder farming family who is among 51 recipient smallholder farming households raising the Holstein heifers.

“We are so happy to see Gamsa so healthy and strong,” said the calf’s owner, Guna Kumari Ghimire. “My family named her Gamsa because we are thankful for many gifts we received from Korea, starting with her mom, Tosilee, who flew from Korea. Korean dairy experts and veterinarians visited many times to provide us specialized training and ongoing support on proper livestock management, including modernized shelter, feed and disease prevention.”

Technical livestock experts from Heifer International and South Korea are training the smallholder farmers in Kamamalai to become model dairy farmers, and the village became inaugurated as the pioneering Korea-Nepal Model Dairy Village in Sindhuli on February 13 to reflect this effort.

Currently, 71 other heifers in Kamalamai are pregnant, testifying to the success of livestock management and health control. Holstein cows’ milk output can exceed 30 liters a day on average, more than three times that of most cows in Nepal.

“This year marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Nepal, and the arrival of this calf symbolizes the enduring friendship between the two nations and marks the beginning of what will become a nucleus herd of productive dairy cows,” said Ambassador Taeyoung Park of the Republic of Korea to Nepal. “The inauguration of the Korea-Nepal Model Dairy Village is Korea’s first attempt to build a dairy village overseas. Korea will continue to transfer knowledge and resources to ensure the success of the Model Dairy Village in Sindhuli.”

A symbolic Passing on the Gift® ceremony to celebrate the calf’s arrival also occurred on February 13. In attendance were special guests including Mr. Upendra Pokharel, Mayor of Kamalamai Municipality, Ms. Yoonhee Chung, Deputy Director of KOICA Nepal Office, Ms. Neena Joshi, Senior Vice President of Asia Programs at Heifer International, Dr. Tirtha Raj Regmi, Country Director of Heifer Nepal, and from Korea, Dr. Young-Chan Kim, President and Chief Veterinarian of PAJU Dairy Clinic of Seoul Dairy Cooperative, and Ms. Haewon Lee, Executive Director of Heifer Korea.

“This is the first exciting step toward modernizing the dairy sector in a way that promotes sustainable development and prosperity for the families who make up the backbone of the agricultural sector: smallholder farmers,” said Dr. Rewati Raman Poudel, Secretary of Livestock Development for Nepal’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, who attended the inauguration ceremony.

Heifer International began operating in Nepal in 1997, working alongside local farmers to improve food security and reduce poverty by providing technical support to strengthen agricultural value chains, promoting environmentally friendly farming, and improving access to affordable inputs and services. To date, Heifer Nepal has supported over 400,000 families, organized into 277 agricultural cooperatives — all working under the Social Entrepreneur Women Alliance, an apex governing body led by progressive women farmers.


About Heifer International

Since 1944, Heifer International has worked with more than 46 million people around the world to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way while caring for the Earth. Heifer currently operates in 19 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including the United States, supporting farmers and food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income. For more information, visit:


Media Contacts:

Leocadio Salmeron, Public Relations Manager,, +1 404.398.8858

Prabin Gurung, Communication Manager, Heifer Nepal, +977-985-1159538

Clara Kim, Director, Heifer Korea, +82-10-6284-8705