34th Sharing Meeting of NNN

April 21, 2010

Nepal Non-Timber Forest Products Network (NNN) was formed in 1995 with the mission to promote conservation of biodiversity and efficient utilization of NTFPs for the sustained economic and social development of Nepalese society. The Network activities have contributed to sharing of knowledge and information, collaboration among NTFP actors and minimization of duplication of efforts. Through several deliberations, it has identified some strategic NTFP promotion intervention nodes: training, marketing, policy review, and they are being implemented by several organizations. Since the early days, ANSAB has been pro-active to bring the different issues in NTFP sector and to share among concerned organizations. The past 33 NNN meetings were instrumental in contributing to the development of NTFP sector.

Agenda

  • Major agenda:
    • Presentation, discussion and prioritization of critical services and service providers to CFEs
    • Presentation of issues, discussion and recommendation regarding registration of trees grown in private land
  • Other agenda
    • Sharing and discussion about the design of project for “Expanding FSC certification at landscape level through incorporation of additional ecosystem services”
    • Sharing of Medherb Green Pages 2010 (India and Nepal)

Welcome Note
Dr. Bhishma Subedi, NNN coordinator and Executive Director of ANSAB, welcomed the participants and briefed the agenda of the 34th meeting and requested them to provide their valuable inputs and ideas towards. He also stated that though the community forestry enterprises (CFEs) are being developed, they presently lack the access to various services required for their operation and success. Thus, there is a need to sort out the critical services required to develop sustainable CFEs. He also expected that the NNN meeting would produce concrete outputs favorable for developing the CFEs. Upon the request of Dr. Subedi, Mr. Madhav Acharya, Director General of Department of Forests (DoF), chaired the meeting.

Discussion
After a brief introduction of participants, discussions were carried out on each of the agendas.

Agenda 1: Critical Services and Service Providers to CFEs
Through the past 17 years of experience of developing Community Forest Enterprises (CFEs) in rural areas of Nepal, ANSAB realized the vital links that exist between the Micro, Small and Medium Forest Enterprises (MSMFEs) and Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs). It also developed an understanding of how support providers can offer the critical services for the development and promotion of CFEs and CFUGs. Based on that, ANSAB identified seven most critical services required by CFEs: a) Input supply/raw material sourcing, b) Enterprise development planning, c) Enterprise operation and management, d) Technology and product development, e) Legal and policy, f) Marketing, and g) Finance.

These findings were presented in the meeting. Different ‘specialized’ services under these categories were presented and discussion was facilitated to identify service providers and support organizations for these services. The outcomes of the discussion were:

Formation of Task force for developing NTFP inventory methodology & guidelines: The participants discussed on different needs and problems in raw material sourcing. They discussed that CFEs are confronted with the problems of sustainable harvesting of the resources. As many CFEs ignore the long term view of raw materials sourcing,, the issues of sustainability have become more important. The  participants also discussed need of the service providers being able to cater to needs of the CFEs. The meeting suggested developing service providers through standardized courses, with which these service providers can deliver the required services to the CFEs. The meeting also realized the lack of standard guidelines for service providers to implement standardized interventions. The meeting agreed to create a task force for developing NTFP inventory methodology and guideline. Such guideline will describe inventory methodology for NTFPs–Leaf, Root, and Whole plant. The task force for preparing the guideline comprises of the representatives from the following organizations:

Coordinator
ANSAB

Members
Department of Forests Livelihood and Forestry Program
Department of Plant Resources
Forest Action
Department of Forest Research and Survey
Other relevant and interested agencies such as Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) will be included in the task force after consultation with them.

Recommendation for developing technical management team/develop course: The meeting highlighted the need of developing service providers at local as well as national level by offering structured courses that integrate skill sets required for both forestry and enterprise development and provides knowledge to organize service delivery in a business manner. The participants also discussed that one particular institution may not be sufficient to provide the required services, so there is a need for integrated efforts of different organizations. The meeting identified ANSAB, Beed Management and IEDI for providing such courses. The participants mentioned that there is a lack of human resources for providing the services on business planning, and development and management of the CFEs, and resource management. They also discussed that the service providers for business management in CFEs could be of senior level (experts) and junior level (LRPs). The experts could be the service provider for entrepreneurship development and business planning of the enterprise while the LRPs could be the service provider for other services required for the operation of the enterprise. The meeting recommended to form a technical management team involving 50 to 100 professionals trained in forestry, management, and LRPs and subsequently to train them for providing specific services to CFEs. The meeting also recommended to prepare CTEVT course on business development and management of CFEs.

Prepare Brochure of 25 NTFP products: The participants realized the fact that there is big gap in technology for CFEs. They discussed how the CFEs are crippled with the lack of appropriate technology and the service providers. The technology should be such that the products are consumed in the local market and at the same time yield higher profit. The participants also discussed that there should be effective intervention from government for technological services required by the CFEs. The participants agreed to prepare brochures of 25 NTFP products detailing the specific technologies required. Similarly, the participants realized that there is a need to develop similar information sets for the marketing of different products. That could be linked with other technology brochure or could be developed separately by highlighting market and supply situation for different value chains.

Prepare a Brochure on Legal and Policy issues: The participants discussed on the legal and policy gaps for CFEs and the required services for them. The issue was that the farmers/traders had to pay in several places during the transportation of NTFPs. However, the DoF director general made clear that the newly introduced seal system has minimized this problem and the traders didn’t have to pay more than once.

Even though there are loopholes, the government has assured that these will be minimized. The team discussed that the entrepreneurs of CFEs should be made aware on different legal and policy requirements of the enterprises. To fulfill such requirements, the participants agreed to prepare one brochure entailing legal and policy requirements with special provision for CFEs. ANSAB is selected as a focal organization for preparing the brochure, while other organizations will support it by providing inputs.

The brochure will be endorsed by DoF with its logo in it, to make it more authentic. Further, such brochure will be widely disseminated and transmitted in a Radio Program “Ban Batika” aired in Radio Nepal every week.

Community-Private Partnership: Linking up of community entrepreneurs with private companies was found to be crucial for the economical viability of the enterprises in long term. The participants discussed that the CFEs do not make elaborate investment plans, so that the bankers become hesitant to provide financial services to them. Further, as there is no insurance mechanism for the CFEs, there is risk in return and hence bankers are reluctant to invest. Thus the participants discussed that linkages of the CFEs with the organization like ANSAB, MEDEP, and insurance companies is crucial as this provides bankers assurance for their services and sustainability of the enterprises.

Nepal Standards for NTFP, PRA Certification and Harmonized Coding (HC): The participants discussed that it is very important to set up Nepal standards for NTFP for ensuring the marketing of the quality products in national and international markets. Though it may not be possible at the moment to set up the standards, the government and civil society organizations must be aware of the fact that it is needed. The participants discussed that apart from existing certification system, NTFPs should have PRA (Pest Risk Analysis) certification. Also the need of harmonized coding (HC) was reflected for the exporting of NTFP products. The participants recommended for standardizing the packing of the certified products, which otherwise could create the loopholes. The government needs to monitor the products.

In a separate discussion, examples of providing extra incentives to individuals in various project activities were discussed. Such supply led service provision has adversely affected service market.

Agenda 2: Tree Registration in Private Land
ANSAB through NNN and other forums has been raising the issue of tree registration since a long time. In recent years, ANSAB tried to register the Ritha trees grown in private land to increase the income of rural poor by integrating them into profitable and sustainable value chain. But due to the lack of appropriate policy in it, the registration process couldn’t move significantly ahead.

Thus ANSAB realized that this issue should be discussed with concerned stakeholders helping the farmers to register the trees grown in their private land. Puspa Ghimire presented issues and activities in tree registration in private land with example of Ritha. Dr. Subedi also requested to Director General of DoF to share progress towards in the agenda as raised through NNN, FCN and other meetings. NNN discussed the issue for a couple of time and made recommendation to the government. After the presentation, the discussion was carried out on how the tree registration could be made possible. The following outcomes were generated:

Private forest development directives under progress: In query of Dr. Subedi, Director General of DoF clarified that the private forest directive is under progress and will soon be implemented after it is approved from the cabinet. As per this directive, any farmer having cultivated the NTFPs species and medicinal plants can apply for the registration in respective District Forest Office.

Need of Standard Mechanism: The participants discussed that there is a need of standard mechanism in registration process so that the decision doesn’t change with the change in or transfer of officials.

Agenda 3: Design of a new project for “Expanding FSC certification at landscape level through incorporation of additional ecosystem services”
Dr. Bhishma Subedi shared about a new project on forest certification at landscape level being implemented in four countries: Nepal, Chile, Indonesia and Vietnam, and is being funded by Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Dr Subedi mentioned that the project will be designed within the next 8 or 9 months and will be implemented for four years.

Agenda 4: Medherb Green Pages 2010 (India and Nepal)
This was the last agenda of the meeting in which Dr. Bhishma Subedi shared about the Medherb publication of 2010. It contains the trade information on various medicinal and aromatic plants and spices found in Nepal and India. He also informed that the book is available for sale at ANSAB at the cost of NPR 1800 for each unit.

Conclusion of the Meeting
The meeting was concluded by reflecting on the meeting discussions. Dr. Subedi and Mr.Madhav Acharya thanked all the participants for their active participation in the meeting and told that the cooperation between different organizations and the government continues so that the NTFP issues could be identified and solved together.

List of Participants

S.N Name Organization Designation Email
1 Madhav Acharya Department of Forests Director General dgdof@dof.gov.np
2 Annapurna N. Das Ministry of Forests, Soil and Conservation Joint Secretary, PARD dasannapurna@hotmail.com
3 Surya Yadav Department of Plant Resources Planning Officer suryayadav@hotmail.com
4 Bhairab Risal NEFEJ Member
5 Vijaya K. Gurung Bank of Kathmandu RM vijay.gurung@bok.com.np
6 Dipendra Raj Shilpakar FHAN Ex member dipenkar@gmail.com
7 Meena Kunwar LFP NRM Advisor m-kunwar@lfp.org.np
8 Dharam R. Uprety Forest Action Project coordinator dharam.uprety@gmail.com
9 Keshab R. Gautam DFRS ARO keshab_gtm@yahoo.com
10 Bhishma Subedi ANSAB ED bhishmasubedi@ansab.org
11 Shiva Pandey ANSAB NRM manager shivapandey@ansab.org
12 Pushpa Ghimire ANSAB Program Officer puspaghimire@ansab.org
13 Sushil Gyawali ANSAB Manager-Eco. Dev. sushilgyawali@ansab.org
14 Prakash Katwal ANSAB Program Officer Prakashkatwal@ansab.org
15 Bhuwan Dhakal ANSAB Documentation Officer bhuwandhakal@ansab.org