September 27, 2002
The eighteenth sharing meeting of Nepal NTFP Network (NNN) was held on September 27, 2002 at ANSAB, Bhimsengola, Baneswor, Kathmandu.
- Dr. Udaya Raj Sharma, DPR
- Bhola Bhattarai, FECOFUN
- Shyam K. Shah, FECOFUN
- Dinesh Poudel, NSCFP
- Tulasi Koirala
- Dr.Bijnan Acharya, USAID
- Divya Gurung, SDC
- Karl Schuller, SDC
- Man Prasad Khatri, HJSS
- Bhairab Risal, NEFEJ
- Arjun Dhakal, NEFEJ
- Srijana Rana, SNV/N
- Santosh Gurung, Boudha Y. Club (Gorkha)
- Bhishma P. Subedi, ANSAB
- Surya B. Binayee, ANSAB
- Bharat Rai, ANSAB
- Monika Dhakhwa, ANSAB
- Recap of the 17th NNNSM and follow-up on the developments.
- Global Development Alliance/Public-Private Alliance project
- NTFP Development Coordination Committee
- Other issues as suggested by the members
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE MEETING
Bhishma Subedi welcomed the participants to the eighteenth sharing meeting of Nepal NTFP Network. The participants agreed Mr. Subedi’s proposal to select Dr. Udaya Raj Sharma, Director General of Department of Plant Resources (DPR) as the Chairperson to the meeting. Dr. Sharma chaired and provided possible solutions for many issues related to NTFP and government’s role on NTFP programs that were strongly raised during the meeting.
1. Recap of the 17th Sharing Meeting and follow-up on developments
Bhishma Subedi briefly reviewed the discussions and outcomes of the seventeenth NNN Sharing Meeting held on August 2nd,2002 at MEDEP office. This session also included the discussion on the impact of the Nepal-India trade treaty and task force update on Rio+10.
The task force of NNN members formed to provide feedback on Rio+10 and Nepal-India Trade Treaty on the coordination of Mr. Bhaveshwor Das was postponed as most of its members were either absent or were out of station. But there was a live discussion based on the feedback of few members as well as the Chairperson, Dr. Udaya Raj Sharma, who had attended the World Summit at Johannesburg.
Dr. Sharma explained that the main focus of the Summit was Poverty Alleviation and the rest of other agendas related to the field of development were considered as side events. Surprisingly, the issues of community forestry and NTFP were well received. It was found that Nepalese experience regarding this field was quite ahead than many other countries. He added that the detailed report of the Summit can be found in the website which could be a good learning experience.
Bhola Bhattarai, who had also attended the World Summit, remarked that though there were Nepalese participating, both from the government and the NGO sector, there was no interaction between them. This was exactly contrary to the case of Thailand, where the NGOs and the government had a very good coordination.
Karl Schuller added that the Swiss government had asked the Nepalese government to send a list of participants who would be attending the meeting. But even after two weeks, they could not send the list of eligible participants. To this, Dr. Udaya Raj Sharma clarified that the information reached the related department much late, therefore the list of participants could not be sent to the conference. He further stated that though there was not any separate time slot allocated for the presentation from Nepalese participants due to the prior unavailability of the list, the organizer of the Mountain Forum still managed to extract time for the presentation from Nepal. Dr. Sharma also stated that though Nepal had a number of success stories related to watershed management, sustainable mountain development, buffer zone project etc. But unfortunately, lack of timely information, absence of appropriate personnel with adequate knowledge and experience in these fields, they could not be shared properly.
2. Global Development Alliance/Public-private alliance project
Bhishma Subedi informed the members that ANSAB is prepared to carry out a project entitled “Certification and Sustainable Marketing of Non- Timber Forest Product (NTFP)” to promote public-private alliance in the NTFP sector. Upon the request of Bhishma P. Subedi, Dr. Acharya explained that the main goal of the project is to link Nepalese and foreign buyers, Nepalese NTFP producers, NGOs, Associations and government programs in order to increase income and employment for Nepalese NTFP producers, promote sustainable resource management, institute a cerification program of NTFP in Nepal and expand responsible buying practices among industry members in the west. To this, Bhishma P. Subedi further clarified the project activities and mentioned that ANSAB is going to implement this project with the financial support from the USAID Nepal with collaborations from FECOFUN, Gorkha Ayurved, Himalayan Jadibuti Sarokar Samuha and Himalayan Biotrade as alliance members. He further explained that the technical proposal had been already approved by the USAID and the negotiation part is underway.
Upon the question asked by Dr. Acharya about the program concerning certification of the NTFPs, Bhishma Subedi answered that it is a process that has yet to be learned from the similar experience of other countries. Besides this, he added that it requires a lot of fund, apart from strong confidence of both, the buying and selling parties in the institute working on NTFP certification.
3. Establishment of NTFP Development Coordination Committee
The Chairperson, Dr. Sharma informed the members about the establishment of NTFP Development Coordinating Committee consisting of thirteen members representing the National Conservation Park, HPPCL, NGO and the Ayurveda Department.. He added that together they have defined twelve major problems currently faced by the NTFP and Community Forestry, which also include the following issues mentioned by the members at the meeting:
- Misunderstanding as well as different interpretations of government policies on Community Forestry and NTFPs.
- Lack of representation from traditional, actual herb traders and CFUGs while formulating government policies on these matters.
- Lack of clear-cut policies/laws concerning royalties of NTFPs as well as public and the community forest.
- Unnecessary government intervention upon the implementation of projects/ programs related to Community forestry/NTFP.
IIn reply to Karl Schuller’s question on the objective of the committee, Dr. Sharma replied that it is to make sure that the policies then formulated are in line with the sectors working on MAPs and NTFP promotion and development. The objective of the committee is also to address policy and coordination problems with constant feedback from its members. He asserted that this would prove crucial in eradicating the problems just mentioned by the members. Therefore he also requested the NNN members to provide the committee with their valuable feedback.
Karl Schuller had also raised the contradictory issue concerning poverty alleviation, use of common property and sustainable resource management.
Dinesh Poudel added that establishing the NTFP Committee is a good start for the protection and promotion of NTFP sector. However, it cannot solve all the problems currently faced by the NTFP sector. Therefore, he emphasised on the need of representation from the private sectors and the village level collectors in the board so as to form a pressure group to prevent the government from making/implementing impractical policies on this field.
Man Prasad Khatri supported the establishment of the NTFP Committee as it could play the facilitating role between the government and the NTFP sector. He emphasized on the need of legal awareness on laws concerning the forest and forest products before implementing any donor aided project in this area so as to avoid any misunderstandings or confusions.
Dr. Sharma stressed the importance of the support from all NNN members as that more effective and influential the Committee is the more benefit the NTFP sector can derive from it.
4. Other Issues:
Mr. Bhishma Subedi informed the members about the workshop held at Nepalgunj with Enterprise Based Biodiversity Conservation Program where together they had come up with common issues concerning the royalties of NTFP and decided to hand over the feedback/suggestions to the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation and the Department of Forest. He also read out the details of the workshop briefly, which included the following suggestions:
- The royalty of Yarshagumba should be maintained Rs 5000 per kg instead of Rs 20000. This will cut down on its illegal trade and the collectors will also get reasonable remuneration of their work.
- The royalties of the NTFPs should be fixed according to their quality as the same NTFP can be of varying qualities.
- The royalties of Bojho and Pakhanbed should not exceed more than Rs 2 per kg. The royalty more than this will put the collectors under a heavy burden with added load of transportation cost.
- The government policy allows the establishment of small cottage industries based on NTFP only beyond 3km from the forest area. This doesn’t seem practical due to the difficult geographical terrain of the country. The small industries have almost stopped becoming functional after this decision. Therefore, considering these conditions, the government should allow the cottage industries based on NTFP to establish near the forest.
The members also showed their interest on knowing the prices of NTFPs in neighbouring countries such as Bhutan and Tibet.
Lastly, before thanking the participants, Dr. Sharma informed the members about a two-day workshop forum being held at Nagarkot for the farmers of CFUGs where they would get training on herb cultivation. This training program is being funded by DANIDA.
The date and venue of the next NNN Sharing Meeting was decided to be finalised soon.