Mr. Shashi Sakya

Previously, in the Sindupalcheck district of Nepal, the main source of income previously came from the cultivation of potatoes and corn and villagers eked out a meager existence.  In 2007, ANSAB staff visited community groups in the district to discuss the feasibility of creating essential oil distillation cooperatives as a way of increasing income and conserving biodiversity — by using Wintergreen, a Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) that was previously only used to feed goats.

Shashi Sakya, already a leader in his community, was selected to become the Treasurer of the Wintergreen Enterprise in Sikre, a community located in the in Sindupalcheck district. ANSAB staff helped Shashi and the community create a business plan and collect shares for the enterprise. ANSAB also linked the enterprise to Himalayan Bio-trade Ltd. (HBTL), a natural products processing and trading company owned by a consortium of Nepalese community based forest enterprises. HBTL provided the original startup money for the enterprise and the community itself also paid for a part of the initial investment, making their interests in seeing the enterprise succeed even stronger.

The unique part of the enterprise, according to Shashi, is that the women who collect the Wintergreen are making revenue where no other sources of income were previously present. Moreover, says Shashi, the community forest users groups are making profit. Shashi explained enthusiastically that “the enterprise’s profits benefit the poorest of the poor in the community.” The Enterprise’s Management Committee decided to use the enterprise profits to assist the ultra poor within the community to set up their own company.  Not only that, but the collectors who must travel to more remote areas of the community forests to collect Wintergreen are paid more for their product as compensation for their additional physical labour to bring the product from a further distance.

“ANSAB provided little monetary support to the enterprise,” noted Shashi, “but what it did was help us make the necessary linkages, set up the enterprise, and offer technical training.” Previously, the same community had been approached by another group to harvest Lokta (used for making handmade paper), but the project had fallen through and the villagers had lost confidence in new endeavours.  However, the enterprise had the necessary assurance from the market statistics and the market feasibility study done by ANSAB that Wintergreen would be successful. It exceeded expectations – within six months the enterprise was already created and running. As Shashi explained “the essential part in the success was the social mobilization and the vision that ANSAB helped us to build.”