border review | 5 May 2012

Mules and Roads

Between all the important topics that fill the front pages of Nepal’s press – questions of federalism and ethnicity, the upcoming deadline for the Constitutional Assembly to finally agree on a constitution – this little note by Bipin Chand Agarwal (The Times of India) caught my eyes.

Donkeys, mules cross border, find new destination in Nepal, China: The demand of donkeys and mules has gone up in Nepal and China. These animals are the good mode of transport even in the adverse weather on the hills of these countries, they are also being imported from Nepal for past one year, importers of Nepal are sending them to China.

Talking to Nepali traders the author learnt that about 90% of these mules were exported to China where the price for mules allegedly quadrupled.

Against the background of the fervent construction of roads in the Himalayas, the surge in demand for mules may seem strange. But the roads bring more goods and these goods still need to be carried across passes where the roads have not yet reached. In this sense, it may well be that more roads mean more mules – at least for the time being.