1st Sharing Meeting of NNN

November 6, 1998

The Nepal Non-Timber Forest Products Network Advisory Group (NNNAG), an informal group of Nepal NTFP Network members who are actively involved and/or interested in the field of NTFPs management, met for the first time on November 6, 1998 at ANSAB office. The main objectives of the meeting were to: 1) discuss how the network can better serve the people at the grassroots level; 2) identify the issues that the network can or should tackle; 3) identify important roles that the network can play; 4) determine what strategies are needed to perform its roles; and 5) decide what contributions can be made by different organizations to complement the initiative taken by ANSAB.

Those who were present in the meeting are:

  1. Narendra Rasaily, NACFP
  2. Kenneth Nicholson, SNV
  3. Raju Chhetri, NAF
  4. Dr. Tirtha. B. Shrestha, IUCN
  5. Janie Bergeron, CECI
  6. Ghanendra Kafle, NUKCF
  7. Hari P. Neupane, FECOFUN
  8. Surya P. Joshi, National Forest Division, DOF
  9. Bhishma P. Subedi, ANSAB

Surya B. Binayee, Ram P. Acharya and Rupa Shrestha of ANSAB were also present to provide logistical and other support during the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting were:

  1. An overview of the Network activities in the past
  2. What are the important roles that the Network can play
  3. How to make the network more effective to perform these roles:
    • formation of specialized groups
    • communication/interactions among members
    • dissemination of information to relevant stakeholders and others
    • linkage and communication with other networks and organizations
  4. Frequency and timing of the group meeting
  5. Agenda for the next meeting

The Summary of the Discussions and Conclusion of the Meeting:
1. Mr. Subedi welcomed all the participants and briefly mentioned the objectives and agenda of the meeting. The participants gave their introduction highlighting their experience and interest in NTFP sector.

2. Before moving on to the discussions, Mr. Subedi gave a brief overview of the Network and its previous activities. The Nepal Non Timber Forest Products Network (NNN) was established in 1995 and is being coordinated by Biodiversity Program of ANSAB. At present the network consists of more than 50 institutional and 250 individual members representing local and international business persons, producer’s associations, researchers, and others involved in the collection, processing, and sale of NTFPs. The coordination committee of the network has representation from several departments of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation including the Community Forestry Division, research and training organizations, private companies, and ANSAB.

In the past, the network has 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 data base of NTFP traders, published two issues of NNN Newsletters, and organized a national workshop on NTFP. ANSAB also houses samples, herbaria and literature that are accessible to members as well non-members. ANSAB has its own homepage in the Internet, the address (the URL site) is http://www.PanAsia.org.sg/nepalnet/ansab/home.htm

3. Brainstorming was done to identify the main issues that the Network can or should tackle. The discussion continued to explore the important roles that the network can play and how best the Network can perform these roles.

4. The issues for the sustainable utilization of NTFPs identified by the participants were:

  1. Sustainable Management of NTFPs
  2. Marketing Support
  3. Policy Reform and implementation of existing legislation
  4. Information dissemination
  5. Fair distribution of benefits especially to people at grass-root level

5. The following roles were recommended to play by the Network:

  • Serve as resource center housing NTFP related literature, samples, herbaria, and database.
  • Disseminate information on various aspects of NTFP through different media e.g. specialized publications, newsletters, radio, internet, etc.
  • Coordinate and organize workshops, seminars, study tours and training on NTFP management, marketing, trade, and policy issues.
  • Find mechanism to communicate and disseminate information at village level. Inform the community about prospects/problems in NTFP management, post harvest handling, marketing, and processing.
  • Provide a platform to share the lessons learnt with one another for the individuals working in this sector.
  • Help to establish community rights and responsibilities in NTFP conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing.
  • Contribute in an effective implementation of 1993 Forest Act and 1995 Forest Regulation.
  • Assist and contribute in making clear policy, rules, and regulations for the development of NTFP sector at national level.
  • Provide a platform for donors to discuss and define policies regarding NTFPs and to provide support for the conservation of these resources for the benefit of local community members.
  • Find the ways to involve the forest users in decision making process.

6. In order to perform the above roles the Network was suggested to initiate the following strategic functions:

  • Regularly publish and circulate a newsletter and consider producing in Nepali language to circulate among user’s group as well as to local producers, processors and traders.
  • Accumulate case studies on NTFP development from various organizations and share information, references and other materials with different organizations. ANSAB will act as an information center and the participants will assist in compilation of NTFP references/literatures/ reports from various organizations.
  • Categorize and display samples and herbaria of commercial plants at ANSAB.
  • Prepare an inventory of publications by categories (e.g. marketing/ecology/policy/institutional/technology etc) to include in the Network resource center.
  • Interact and coordinate with user groups, local organizations and NGOs.
  • Identify network members-database (National and International linkages)
  • Organize national level as well as district level network group meetings.
  • Regular meeting 2-4/year on specific topics with preparation of action plan. Circulate the minutes of the meeting.
  • Hold NTFP trade fair and exhibition.
  • Develop proposal for Internet web page to promote product development by community based NTFP enterprises (network approval criteria).
  • Conduct market survey to identify demand of the product.
  • Organize business management training on NTFP.
  • Establish linkages with NTFP managers (FUGs), trainers and market.
  • Identify legal deficiencies and constraints.
  • Act as policy working group/watchdog to alert members.
  • Raise fund to operate the network more effectively.

7. In order to support the networking activities coordinated by ANSAB the following contributions will be made by the organization of the participants present in the meeting: IUCN- Provide recent scientific information and species status about threatened, endangered, CITES species etc.; and provide conservation strategy through IUCN and specialist group on medicinal plants.

NAF - Assist in providing training at grass-root level; provide information on existing condition of NTFP activities as well as resource base of six NAF districts; and provide sample and marketing information of commercial NTFPs.

SNV - Provide internet home page inputs, technical expertise, and marketing training materials; develop international linkages (SNV+RECOFTC); and assist in organizing/coordinating workshop, meetings and database entry, proposal writing and fund raising, and in categorizing books and other publications for library.

NACFP - Provide small grants for NTFP promotion activities; act as network member; and provide various NTFP information collected from the field.

NUKCFP - Act as network member; represent organization; and share cost depending upon the nature of the program.

CECI - Active participation in Network’s meetings and other activities; and provide technical expertise and reference materials in English and Nepali on NTFP management and cultivation.

FECOFUN - Active coordination in informing and involving users groups and various organization in this network; and assist in dissemination of information through different media.

8. It was decided that the group meets every two months. Mr. Hari P. Neupane, FECOFUN will chair the next meeting that will be held on Friday, January 8, 1998 at ANSAB office. Mr. Subedi will circulate the minutes of this meeting before the next meeting. Some of the agenda that will be included in the next meetings are:

  • Sharing of work done in the field of NTFP by different organizations
  • Sharing of reports and publications
  • Analysis of the issues, roles, and strategies
  • Resource planning
  • Formation of specialized group