More than half of the total land of Nepal is very rocky harsh , infertile and lack of access to irrigation which are not good enough for crop farming. Moreover, most of the poor people do not have access to land for farming agriculture crops.So Nepal Government’s policy and strategy must be to adopt and develop a economic system based on scientific findings, low weight, high value biodiversity products such as venom etc. Therefore, commercial snake farming is an alternative to agriculture for boosting the economy of poor farmers.
The Netuwa Tribe of Parsa, Bara, Chitwan and Western part of Nepal has been using the art of snake catching,keeping,feeding including vipers,cobra set since hundreds of years. This art can be turn into alternative agriculture by breeding valuable snakes that are cheap to keep;which doesn’t require more land, neither irrigation nor heavy work hours.Snakes can be raised in a small wooden box ,with a clean water pot which can be opened and closed from outside with a small but safe hutona high dry ground made of bamboos.Feeding is cheap and easy with giving them mice, rats ,frog every 7-10 days and they shouldn’t be disturbed too often.
Snake’s venom, meat and skin have a great demand in international market. The most economic aspect of snake farming is its venom. Its a low weight but extremely high value product. Snake venom is very useful to many diseases of brain disorders and also has the potential to treat cancer, HIV/AIDS etc. It is used to manufacture anti-venom and heart attack drugs that are too expensive. The HIV/AIDS drug market in China and USA alone has potential of more than 300 billions dollar(source:Netra Pharma Inc,USA)
According to a survey, Nepal imports antivenom worth around 10 millions rupees from India annually also around 200 people die each year due to snakebite. Unavailability of anti snake venom has always been a major problem in rural areas.
Moreover, farming and breeding of snake saves the endangered species from extinction.The recently established “The Anti-Snake Venom Serum Research and Production Pvt Ltd Sunsari” has added more courage and inspiration for snake farming. The company is investing around 890 millions to set up the anti-snake venom manufacturing facility. Thus, snake farming is not just alternative to agriculture but its today’s need.