Supporting Tibetan zootechnic cooperatives for a sustainable natural resource management



The project aimed to strengthen the cooperative system of land use in Qinghai, focusing on the CYAK cooperative as a pilot case so that it could be a model for developing a large-scale network among zootechnic cooperatives. It pointed to supporting Tibetans in starting up a zootechnic business that could meet the families’ modern expectation, but without heavily intervening on natural resources, especially on grassland and without altering the ecosystem and the annual production. Cooperatives and collective land use are one of the strongest strategies to satisfy this need. 



At CYAK Cooperative, located in Longma Village, Yege municipality, Qumalai County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai, China. 

Qinghai region is extremely poor and inhabited nearly half by ethnic minorities. Internally, on the high plateau, there is the Yushi prefecture, populated only by Tibetan nomads, living predominantly through pastoralism. Yushu prefecture is composed of six counties, Qumalai is one of these.



In Qumalai county especially the younger generations, regrouped in cooperatives, would like to implement new zootechnic techniques, but they don’t have the means to do that and to ensure that they would be sustainable and profitable at the same time. Moreover, there is a lack of coordination and cooperation among cooperatives.


Nomadism has been the banner of Tibetan identity and the principal model of approach to land for centuries. In recent years, nevertheless, zootechnic activities slipped in an increasingly degraded condition. Here are some of the causes: the shrinkage of seasonal grazing due to mineral and industrial development, the sedentarization and control policy, the overexploitation of water resources, the establishment of protected areas for environmental conservation (in which pasture is forbidden), the land sales, the concentration of all services in urban areas.



Here the main activities that ASIA carried out:

  • Set up of dry processing for mushrooms and healing herbs
  • Preparation of ‘in site shop’ and showcase at the recreational center 
  • Development of e-commerce strategy and promotional material to be launched through
  • In depth analysis of grazing land potentialities and sustainable seasonal use