31st Sharing Meeting of NNN

11 December, 2007
ANSAB Meeting Hall

- ‘Forest Connect’ – Linking small and medium forest enterprises with national forest programmes, markets and service providers
- Other miscellaneous issues related to NTFPs

Small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) start-ups in developing countries like Nepal are in high fashion. The rising of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) especially community forestry movement has also opened the new window to SMFEs for fighting with rural poverty in Nepal. All participants agreed that majority of these enterprises are the main source of rural employment and livelihoods generation in Nepal.

The meeting realized that the major challenge to private entrepreneurs, government and development agencies is to keeping them sustainable. These enterprises are facing series of challenges such as excessive bureaucracy, unstable policies and regulations, insecure tenure, inaccessible credit, poor market information, inadequate technology, poor infrastructure, lack of bargaining power and insufficient business know -how. To overcome this problem the meeting decided to hands together among all stakeholders in Nepal. A seven member’s Advisory Committee was formed to discuss regularly on Forest Connect Nepal activities and progress made.

Major Highlights
The meeting was started with the welcome note by Dr. Bhishma Subedi. Mr. Amrit Lal Joshi chaired the meeting. Dr. Subedi facilitated the meeting by deliberating the agenda and presentation entitled “Linking SMFEs with national forest programs, markets and service providers “. The presentation was focused on livelihoods connection of forest by sharing the global scenario of SMFEs and how to fit them in our local /national context for linking them with national mainstream program, market, and services. Presenting a framework of challenges and possible interventions strategies to promote SMFEs; he highlighted the small forestry enterprises contribution in conservation and livelihood of rural poor. The presentation also highlighted the need of information, investment, connection and capacity building of SMFEs. The presentation concluded that small and medium forestry enterprises both globally and in Nepal are big with a big potential but also constrained by big challenges.

Dr. Subedi then put forward the following points for discussion

• An institutional hub for future work to ‘connect’ SMFEs with markets, service providers and policy processes

• Diagnostic of forest-based SMFEs and their associations within Nepal (community based SMFEs)

• Forest Connect Nepal Webpage for wider sharing

By addressing the agenda, Dr. Keshav Kanel said that we start through identify our strength and weakness of our support system in relation to products, market and services infrastructure. A link points for information must be developed and follow it regularly. He added the starting point might be the preparation of national level checklist /database of SMFEs. ANSAB is working in SMFEs and better to act as a link point if possible. He strongly supported the idea of forest connect web page. Mrs. Bina Shrestha of COFSUN said a small team must be formed and the further activities may be designed as appropriate.

Dr. Prahlad Thapa said that the agenda is a good idea. Lots of worked has been already done by different organizations in Nepal. Due to the lack of sharing and networking amongst the stakeholders the interventions are in scattered formed and unable to produce desired outputs. Therefore, it is better to start from the consolidation of different stakeholders’ idea and experiences in a shareable common format so that the information can be pulled further for broader sharing. He also expressed his interest to work for this task. He also shared the experiences CECI /Sahakarya regarding the policy harassment to SMFEs. He added that the micro enterprise cannot handle policy related constrains.

Dr. Bhishma P. Subedi said that it is better to form an advisory team of government, donor agencies and relevant professional people to further work to go forward for long -term strategy development. Dr. Subedi said that our vision and relative action for SMFEs promotion is important as there is no doubt about the contribution of SMFEs on maximizing economic growth, sustaining forest and develop/empower local communities for poverty alleviation. So it is time to put the promotion of SMFEs as a national priority agenda for discussion and further intervention.

Dr. Bishnu Hari Pandit shared the NTFPs and SMFEs study experiences of New Era. He said that the team should consider the meso level connectivity with respect to national context.

Mr. Netra Sharma Sapkota said that national level inventory of SMFEs is important and go first to micro enterprise. He added that the advisory committee and its activities may be conducted in close collaboration with the Herbs and NTFPs Coordination Committee (HNCC), which would support for the authenticity. BDS – MaPS project learning and experiences may be valuable as baseline to go forwards. Dr. Bhishma P. Subedi added that all the information we wished to have may not be possible to collect and we can start from small initiatives with target products, regions and collaborate among each other.

Mr. Pradeep Jung Pandey said that the forestry sector holds third position in the national priority however we are still on preliminary phase on SMFEs promotion and development. This sector has the tremendous potential to earn foreign revenue. We can not go to the export market due to various reasons. So we should work on one product one village basis to meet economy of scale and quality production. We are not able to supply quantity and quality according to demand. We should think how to bring more benefit to the poor farmers and collectors. Mr. Ram Hari Subedi said that branding the product will position Nepal’s image and we must start doing it to keep our identity in the international markets.

Mr. Parbat Gurung stressed to work through alliances like PPA for higher achievements and broader impacts. So the topic forest connect is very genuine for working through alliance concept and formation of advisory committee may be the primary intervention. He highlighted the livelihoods contribution of forest based micro enterprise like Cordyceps sinensis collection and trade in high Himalayan habitants of Nepal. He added that the Himalayan districts, such as Bajhang, don’t have any agricultural product but still they depends on Cordyceps sinensis and other high value NTFPs. So we should focus such products at first.

In this connection, Dr. Subedi said commissioning a diagnostic study on focused product can be helpful.

Mr. Bhairav Risal said that the FM radio revolution in Nepal is rampant. More than 40 districts have FM radio station. We can utilize this media services as means to advocate governance of SMFEs. The question is that how can we utilize the media to solve the problems.

Mr. Thakur Bhandari said we should go first to the field reality rather than surface talking. It is a time to work on enterprise based community forestry management but our policy and vision is still unclear.

Mr. Kumud Shrestha said first job is that problem must be identified, so that a kind of package can be developed practically. Focus on product and area is crucial for a pilot intervention.

Mr. Durga Datta Regmi said only committee formation is not enough to solve the problem. The major question is the vision of committee formation and deliberation of power and authority in terms of legal validity. It is a time to prepare a national vision and strategy of SMFEs development.

The meeting concluded to form seven members Advisory Committee to discuss regularly on Forest Connect Nepal activities and progress made. The following are the members:

1. Department of Forestry – Director General

2. Kathmandu Forestry College – Principal

3. CECI – Country Director

4. FECOFUN – Chairperson

5. FNCCI – Chairperson (Industrial Development Committee)

6. NEHHPA – Chairperson

7. ANSAB – Marketing Advisor

Finally the meeting was ended by the concluding remarks of Dr. Keshav Kanel and

Chairperson’s closing words.

Mr. Kalyan Gauli BOKU University Austria Ph. D. Student  
Dr. Keshav Raj Kanel DoF Director General keshavkanel@yahoo.com krkanel@infoclub.com.np
Mr. Kumud Shrestha NFA Coordinator( Forest Certification National Working Group ) kumudshrestha2000@yahoo.com shresthakumud@hotmail.com
Mr. Netra Sapkota USAID/Nepal   nsharma@usaid.gov
Mr. Parbat Gurung HBTL MD  
Mr. Pradeep Jung Pandey FNCCI Chairperson Industrial Development Committee info@lomus.com.np
Ms. Parishma Jangam ANSAB   parishmajangam@ansab.org
Mr. Pralahad Thapa CECI/Sahakarya SPC prahladt@ceci.org.np
Mr. Ram Hari Subedi ANSAB Marketing Advisor ramsubedi@ansab.org
Mr. Shiva Shankar Pandey ANSAB NRM Officer shivapandey@ansab.org
Mr. Thakur Bhandari FECOFUN Steering Committee Member fecofun@wlink.com.np