Himalayan Bioresources: Volume 6, Issue 3

Volume 6, Issue 3: September – October – November – December 2015

In search of sustainable agriculture: A review of national policies relating to organic agriculture in Nepal

Farmers in the mid-mountains of Nepal have initiated commercial and ecosystem based farming that can help to produce more from the available land, water and labor resources without either ecological or social harm and increase their resilience to climate change. Ecosystem based farming is a recent development in Nepal, primarily through ANSAB’s effort, and it represents one such potential area that is gaining momentum in economic, health and environmental aspects.

Nepal has a great scope for competitiveness of ecological friendly agriculture and forest products, as it is the home to many potential products namely spices, essential oils and medicinal plants, fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also worth to mention that over 25% of cultivated land in Nepal is estimated to be organic by default, and the area under this sector is gradually increasing. The current market practices of these products also reveal that there prevails a vague mechanism of ecological pricing and premiums among the consumers, although there is no established framework for pricing of these products. The policy environment is also improving as observed with the establishment of National Organic Agriculture Accreditation body and National Coordination Committee for Organic Agriculture Production and Processing System, and other policies supporting organic agriculture.

In this background, ANSAB carried out a review of national level policy documents related to agriculture in Nepal. The study, describing a few characteristics of the recently envisioned sustainable agriculture in Nepal – the Ecosystem-based Commercial Agriculture (ECA), mainly following principles of landscape ecology, agro-ecology, social cohesion and agribusiness entrepreneurship, identifies strategies for the adoption and sound implementation of sustainable agriculture in Nepal.

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Charcoal-briquette enterprises in Nepal: A green and fair value-chain development model

With the increasing scarcity of energy and the increasing cost of firewood in Nepal, an alternative source of energy is gaining popularity with both domestic and commercial consumers in Kathmandu and other urban areas. Charcoal briquettes are a cleaner, more efficient and cheaper option and there is one business which is driving the expansion of the market for its products while generating much-needed income for local communities. ANSAB has documented the business case of charcoal briquette business in the country, which was initiated by the organization since last one decade. This study presents how the business initiated and is organized with the formation of a lead firm – Himalayan Naturals, which works with community forest user groups, community enterprises and private investors to produce and market high-quality and sustainably produced charcoal briquettes. The successes and challenges of the business are also presented.

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This business case has been published in a book, published by International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). The book is entitled Democratising forest business: a compendium of successful locally controlled forest business organisations, and presents 19 cases from 14 developing countries. Another case on lokta handmade paper business, documented by ANSAB, is also featured in the book that describes how the community-based handmade paper is helping to put lokta handmade paper on the international map.

2015 Nepal earthquake relief and recovery program

In response to the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, ANSAB has designed and is implementing a program for community relief and recovery leading to sustainable development. The program has provided support to the affected communities in four districts, namely Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, Dolakha and Nuwakot demonstrating an effective and cost-efficient immediate relief delivery. The program reached 806 households with food items, 488 households with the shelter material including silpaulin tents and mattress and 1,917 households with 2 bundles of corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets and construction toolkits. Beside these, in order to revive the economic activities of local communities in Sindupalchok and Kavrepalanchok districts that were disrupted after the earthquake shelter support was provided to eight enterprises. With a focus on long term recovery, two brick making machines recently bought from China are undergoing test operation under the leadership of local community based enterprises – Himalayan Naturals of Sindhupalchok, and Ashapuri Organics of Kavrepalanchok districts. These brick making machines use locally available clay and low percentage of cement, and will be the cost effective option for construction of semi permanent shelter and a source of employment to the community people.

ANSAB has been invited to different international forums to share its relief and recovery program and activities. ANSAB’s Executive Director, Dr. Bhishma P. Subedi participated in a panel discussion in the Yale University, USA on September 4, 2015, and presented in Aveda, USA on November 1, 2015.

ANSAB is thankful to Aveda, Estee Lauder, blue moon fund, Global Greengrants Fund, Relief International, FSC International Center and various individuals for their support to the earthquake response program.

EVENTS

ANSAB in UNFCCC COP21 side event: Experiences from REDD+ piloting & forest certification used to inform national REDD+ action

ANSAB’s Senior Program Officer-Mr. Shambhu Charmakar participated UNFCCC COP21 in Paris and presented a case of REDD+ and forest certification from Nepal in the side event on December 4, 2015. The side event was organized by OroVerde – The Tropical Forest Foundation, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The major objective of the side event was to present and share approaches to harnessing the power of REDD+ and forest certification to cut carbon emissions while simultaneously reducing poverty and conserving biodiversity and their role on battling against climate change. Mr. Charmakar highlighted about the major activities and achievements of REDD+ and FSC certification piloting in Nepal. In addition, the differences of carbon sequestration in FSC certified and non-certified forests involved in REDD+ were also emphasized. The side event was participated by more than 100 representatives from the globe.

ANSAB organizes study visit on sustainable Nettle production, management and enterprise development in Nepal for Bhutanese delegates

With request from the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC) under the Ministry of Economics, Royal Government of Bhutan, ANSAB facilitated a study visit to their officials in five Nettle enterprises in Kathmandu from December 19 to 27, 2015. During the visit, 5 APIC officials interacted with community members, Nettle entrepreneurs and traders, and gained practical insights in the whole value chain of the sustainable Nettle production, processing and marketing generating livelihood and local employment opportunities.

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National level workshop on Zoonoses and One health in Nepal

ANSAB organized a national level workshop of One Health Asia Program (OHAP) on Zoonoses and One Health on December 18, 2015 in Kathmandu. The main objective of the workshop was to share objectives, project background and progresses updates, and get feedbacks; explore the KAP status on zoonoses and infrastructures, and facilities of Veterinary and Public Health entities in the project districts. Altogether, there were around 70 participants representing the government ministries and departments, non-government organizations, donor agency and academic institutions.

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MARKET PRICE

November 2015 prices in NRs./Kg. Average of two markets (Kathmandu and Nepalgunj) for Nepal; and four (Delhi, Tanakpur, Lucknow and Kolkata) for India. Variations calculated from the previous month.

IN BRIEF

Solar powered irrigation system installed in Bajura district of Nepal

A solar powered irrigation system has been installed in Chhepi of Bandhu VDC, Bajura district that lifts 400,000 liters of water a day from the Karnali river to irrigate agriculture land above the surface water level. This has been carried out as a part of the CSA Bajura project, being implemented in the district by ANSAB, in partnership with ICCO cooperation, Mission East and Innovative Agro Solutions, following the principles of Ecosystem based Commercial Agriculture (ECA). The irrigation system has helped to irrigate 9.5ha of land at 25m head from the water source level, which were mostly abandoned and under-utilized due to the lack of irrigation. Construction of a reservoir and installation of an additional pump is undergoing that will lift water to further 60m head to irrigate additional 5.5ha of land. The Use of lifting solar pump system for irrigation purpose with such high water demand is a new technology in Nepal. The direct beneficiaries from this system are a total of 121 households in Bajura district.

ANSAB and ICRAF signed an MoU for advancing agroforestry in Nepal and South Asia

ANSAB has signed a MoU with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to collaborate in research, technology transfer, and capacity development in agroforestry in Nepal and South Asia. With the MoU, the two organizations will work together to undertake collaborative research and development activities with appropriate organizations of National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) institutions, extension agencies, universities, NGOs and private sector organizations in Nepal and in South Asia in the furtherance of the common goals and objectives of the organizations.  The MoU has strengthened ANSAB and ICRAF’s about a decade long relationship on advancing agroforestry activities in the region.