Nepal NTFP Network (NNN)

In view of the growing importance of multi-disciplinary role of NTFPs- poverty reduction in rural areas, conservation of biological diversity and the emerging issues in the socio-ecological fronts- the Nepal Non-Timber Forest Products Network was established in 1995. The Network has brought together community, business, donors, environmental and government representatives to discuss and work together for promoting sustainable use and management of NTFP resources.

The Network has more than 50 organizational and 250 individual members from Nepal, China, India, Uganda, UK and the USA. The institutions and individual members represent local and international business persons, trade associations, academia, and others involved in the allied disciplines of NTFPs. With such a diversity of membership, the Network has been a great reservoir of knowledge and experiences on biology, management, marketing and policy of Nepal’s NTFP resources. The NNN membership is open for all interested individuals and organizations.

The Network has been coordinated by ANSAB since its establishment. The Network’s current activities include networking and co-ordination among the NTFP related organizations for research and development actions, sharing of NTFP issues and experiences through newsletter, network resource centre, training, workshops, and several others.

Mission and Objectives
The Network’s mission is to promote conservation of biodiversity and efficient utilization of NTFPs for the sustained economic and social development of Nepalese society. In order to achieve this mission, the Network strives to achieve the following objectives:

  • support, co-ordinate, and facilitate NTFP related activities in the country;
  • facilitate sharing of experiences, ideas and information among the Network members through research, trainings, workshops, seminars, newsletter, electronic media and interactive meetings
  • facilitate for the effective support service delivery in NTFP management, use and trade
  • promote and facilitate sustainable management of NTFPs for creating income and employment opportunities to the local people
  • promote product/market development and marketing skills of Nepalese NTFP entrepreneurs
  • analyze and review the NTFP-related policies, legislation and rules and suggest for their improvement

Programs and Activities
The Network’s major programs and activities include:

Newsletter
The Network publishes a newsletter called Himalayan Bio-resources twice a year, which provides a suitable means to highlight and share contemporary issues and experiences in NTFPs sector.

Workshops, Trainings and Seminars
The Network organizes workshops on various aspects of NTFP, facilitate and support training institutes/organizations for NTFP related trainings to enhance the capability of Nan annual seminar focusing on a particular aspect of NTFPs in Nepal. Recently, NNN workshop was held.

Research and Policy Analysis
The Network will coordinate and facilitate research works on key areas of NTFP policy and development. It will also organize face-to-face and other interactive programs between policy makers, government authorities, users and entrepreneurs in the area of NTFPs sector.

NNN Resource Centre
The Network has developed a resource center that collects, compiles and updates NTFP related information/publications contributed by NNN members as well as others. The Network resource center is housed together with the ANSAB’s Business Service Center.

Marketing Information System
In order to facilitate access to information, the network has started a Marketing Information System for NTFPs in Nepal.

NNN Coordination Committee (NNNCC)
General policy and programs of the Network are decided by coordination committee. The committee has been playing an important role in elevating the importance of community resource management and facilitating the formation of policies that are more directed towards local control and conservation. The committee has representation from several departments of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation including the Community Forestry Division, Federation of Community Forest User Groups, Nepal (FECOFUN), research and training organizations, private companies and ANSAB.

The coordination committee plays a pivotal role in supporting NTFP activities through policy changes and implementation of existing policies in favor of conservation and local economic growth. It has now been realized that its role in promoting the activities at the ground level in a more practical way needs to be complemented. The meeting of the CC takes place once in every six months. 

NNN Advisory Group (NNNAG) Meeting
In order to complement the role of the CC in promoting NTFPs at the ground level in a more practical way, an informal group of the NNN members, who were actively involved and/or interested in the field of NTFPs management was formed in 1998. This constitutes a group of 15-21 individuals representing various organizations. This type of forum has served as a medium of sharing and exchanging knowledge and experiences in the field of NTFP management. The group will be recognized as the NNN Advisory Group (AG) that will meet normally once every two months to complement CC’s efforts and to provide support and facilitate the entire NNN activities. The AG will have the following roles and responsibilities:

  • explore new and innovative ideas on NTFPs development;
  • identify policy/legislation issues and suggest for changes or improvement to theC;
  • facilitate appropriate support services in NTFP sector to promote conservation;
  • utilization and trade of the NTFP resources;
  • organize and facilitate innovative projects and activities to meet the NNN’s objectives; and
  • communicate to the CC in a regular basis

A member who wants to withdraw from the AG will have to inform the Network through the coordinator. Member who fails to attend three consecutive meetings without any prior notice may also be terminated from the membership.

NNN-AG Meeting Minutes
The minutes of the meeting are circulated to concerned professionals and organizations. ANSAB has received positive remarks for initiating such activities which will contribute to dissemination of practical information at the grassroots level and influence reforms of existing policies for NTFPs.

Archive

Outcome
The network has facilitated its member organization and others to start joint venture programs in the related field. This type of collaborative approach, which is still lacking in Nepal, will help to avoid the duplication of work. A number of organizations and individuals have shown a positive response towards this approach of the network. NNN-AG member organizations have also contributed reports, references, and other reading materials on NTFPs to the ANSAB library. ANSAB plans to develop a well-equipped resource center in near future.

Nepal NTFP Network (NNN) in a decade
First ever in 1995, Nepal NTFP Network (NNN) emerged to bring synergy in the efforts made for development of NTFP sector of Nepal bringing together producers, traders, researchers, experts, development workers and policymakers across Nepal and abroad. Being remarkably successful, it has been a decade of time that NNN is resolving issues and promoting success on NTFPs management in a common forum of communities, businessmen, environmental and governmental representatives.

Now, NNN congregates active participation of its 50 organizational and 300 individual members, from Nepal, China, India, Uganda, UK and USA. With synergistic contribution from its members, NNN has continuously been holding meetings, organizing task forces, sharing experiences, ideas and knowledge, and contributing to create enabling policy environment and market development. Coordinated by ANSAB, the network in the initial stages, deserved supports for its operation from the Ford Foundation, National Planning Commission, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MFSC) and its various departments, as well as Institute of Forestry (IoF), Herbs Production and Processing Co. Ltd. (HPPCL), International Development and Research Center (IDRC) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Till 1998, NNN endeavored to structure its operation and sharing of knowledge and experiences among NTFP concerned stakeholders. More rapidly, the year became very fertile for NNN. By this year, NNN provided technical assistance to 11 community groups for conducting feasibility studies, training, and business development services. It also completed 18 small research studies in this sector, conducted survey and produced Nepal NTFP Entrepreneurs’ Directory, established a database of NTFP traders, published NNN newsletters, and organized a national workshop on NTFP. Besides, Advisory Group was formed in order to expand the Network and cover wide range of NTFP issues.

The succeeding year 1999 remained productive for marketing information services that NNN perceived the necessity, brought out devices and executed the program for the goodwill of the poor grassroots communities of Nepal. NNN identified inadequate access to marketing information as one of the major areas that needed immediate attention and emphasized the dissemination of NTFP market information to the grassroots people and NTFP based enterprises. Many series of NNN meetings made a conclusion that MIS at central and community level is necessary so that community people can market their products at profit. Besides, MIS was also identified for helping various levels of participants by providing a wide range and scope of marketing information useful for promoting enterprise development plans, evaluating different marketing options, and developing marketing plans to greater extents.

NNN garnered a strategic maturity since 2000. This year, NNN developed five years vision of NNN, framework of its structure and policy, working strategy and plan of action. Merging together the actions NNN initiated in the preceding years, it stepped up extensive consultations for creating policy enabling environment in the succeeding years. In the process, ANSAB with NNN organized an NTFP National Policy Workshop that opened up clear ways to bring out real voices of people to create enabling policy environment. It is notable to emphasize that Department of Plant Resources/MFSC made the recommendations brought together in the meeting a basis for preparing draft of national policy that has already been ratified as “Herbs and NTFP Development Policy, 2061”. It was a relevance of opportunity that NNN members were repeatedly called on by the governmental body for making suggestions to Herbs and NTFP Coordination Committee about the NTFP policy draft before the ratification. Along with series of activities in reinforcing, prescribing and improving the national policy, NNN made use of opportunities all the way through building recommendations accompanied by a wide range of grassroots consultations.

The Network activities have contributed to sharing of knowledge and information, collaboration among NTFP actors and minimization of duplication of efforts. Through serious deliberations, it has identified some strategic NTFP promotion intervention nodes: training, marketing, policy review, and they are being addressed by several organizations. Overall, NTFP as a conservation and development agenda has been highlighted at national as well as international levels.

As long as the NTFP sector caught interests of national governing bodies, NNN Members have been more hopeful of government support for favorable policy environment towards promotion of NTFP sector. Despite policy remained a key priority these years, NNN never gave up simultaneous issues i.e. cultivation, processing, marketing and research of NTFPs. Equally the network animated those concerns in a bid to come up with constructive solutions. As NNN members are outstandingly energetic in sharing ideas, mutual cooperation and in accomplishment of objective; NNN has now been making efforts to make ways for strengthening co-operation, partnership among farmers, traders and entrepreneurs and enterprise scheme for the promotion of NTFPs through which to reduce poverty.

NNN Updates
Nepal NTFPs Network (NNN) deserved grounds to be thankful for the efforts it made predominantly in bringing out concrete NTFP policy issues in the recent years. While NTFP policy issues and challenges were mounting unpleasant to the poor community people of Himali region, ANSAB (Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources) organized an NTFP National Policy Workshop on July 4 to 5, 2003 that opened up clear ways to bring out the real voices of the people to create enabling policy environment. It is notable to emphasize that Department of Plant Resources/MFSC made the recommendations brought together in the meeting a basis for preparing draft of national policy that has been entitled now as “Herbs and NTFP Development Policy, 2061”.

It was a relevance of opportunity that the NNN members were repeatedly called on by the governmental body for making suggestions to Herbs and NTFP Coordination Committee about the NTFP policy draft that is to be eventually submitted for resolution. Along with series of activities in reinforcing, prescribing and improving the national policy, NNN made use of opportunities all the way through building recommendations accompanied by wide range of grassroots consultations.

As long as the NTFP sector caught interests of national governing bodies, NNN Members have been more hopeful of government support for favorable policy environment towards promotion of NTFP sector. Despite policy remained a key priority, NNN never gave up simultaneous issues i.e. cultivation, processing, marketing and research of NTFPs. Equally the network animated those concerns in a bid to come up with constructive solutions.

A recently held NNN meeting decided to carry out research works on policy issues. The preferred issues are the chronological study of ban on imports of herbs (Texus, bark of Okhar, Kutki) tax imposition (Yarsagumba, 40% levy from community forest users group), IEE/EIA and Enterprise registration issues. A contemporary development: on behalf of NNN, ANSAB submitted a request letter to the chairman of Herbs and NTFP Coordination Committee to expedite the Herbs and NTFP Development Policy, 2061. Besides on the run of bringing issues, unreasonable tax of Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinensis) came across NNN time after time in an attempt to reinforce the government for royalty rate curtailment. To notify concisely, the meetings were intensively focused on the policy issues relating it with market and some security issues rampant at present situation.

As NNN members are outstandingly energetic in sharing ideas, mutual cooperation and in accomplishment of objective, NNN has now been making efforts to make ways for strengthening co-operatives, partnership among farmers, traders and entrepreneur and enterprise scheme for the promotion of NTFPs through which to reduce poverty. Let’s hope, NNN would step up further modes of improvement.