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Rural Community Development Centre

The Rural Community Development Centre is an NGO registered in the Mugu district of Nepal in 1998. The overall aim of the organization is to diversify livelihood options of Karnali people by addressing injustice in benefit sharing from natural resources. 


Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bio-resources

The Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bio-resources was established to ensure livelihood improvement of forest users while preserving biodiversity in the context of climate change. They have 20 years of experience in supporting NTFP promotion, processing and trade in mountainous regions of Nepal and especially in mid-west region of Karnali.

Economic Growth for Social Justice: supporting NTFP trade and business development in Karnali

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Project Status: 
Project Background: 

Project Background:

In Nepal the majority of the population of the high altitude areas in the Himalayas depends on subsistence agriculture and natural resources for its livelihood. About 90% of the farmers in mountainous areas rely on marginal and small land holdings, where they typically cultivate less than one hectare per household. In the mid-western region, the five districts in the Karnali zone, Humla, Jumla, Mugu, Dolpa and Kalikot, are some of the most remote areas with the lowest “Human Development Index” (HDI) in Nepal. Population has a low literacy rate, poor economic and health conditions, very limited access to services, lacks basic infrastructures, limited arable land and suffers from low agricultural productivity. However the great diversity afforded by high mountain conditions (biodiversity, climates, topography, culture) provides a comparative advantage for these areas to produce a variety of niche products for their own and lowland consumption and also for economic growth of the area via trade and business development.

To supplement the low agricultural production in the remote and mountainous districts of Nepal, the government of Nepal has given due consideration to Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) as an effective means to enhance the economic benefits to rural people and to help in improving livelihood, household food security and nutrition. NTFPs, both wild edible and medicinal plants, while contributing to the local economy, are also one of the categories of resources that have a potential for improving natural resource management, leading to conservation of the ecosystem and biodiversity of the specific area.

Nevertheless the NTFP subsector is facing various hurdles to develop into a mature subsector in Nepal, which include: (i) sustainable harvesting is difficult to promote in public forests and highlands, as control is limited and these areas function more like common properties, leading to premature and over-harvesting resulting in depletion of resources; (ii) several conservation policies implemented by the Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation (MOFSC), which have pushed large part of the trade into the illegal sphere; (iii) smuggling, corruption and multiple taxation cause considerable trouble in this sector; and (iv) Nepal has mainly been supplying India trade centers and has not yet managed to establish its own linkages with other importing countries.

Project Aims: 

Project Aims: 

The overall objective is to contribute to poverty reduction of remote Karnali regions through sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The specific objective is to promote sustainable, efficient and equitable exploitation of high value Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) in Humla, Mugu and Jumla districts of Karnali region.

By promoting sustainable and equitable exploitation of 7 high value NTFP products (medicinal and aromatic plants) in the Karnali region, the project will address the issues of economic empowerment of marginalised communities from mountainous regions of Nepal for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The selected NTFP products fall into the priority list for export potential of the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2010, in a sector that is already identified as profitable business but which is currently not inclusive and equitable enough for the marginalised and poverty stricken communities that participate in the value chain process, especially for the population of the Karnali region.


Project Action:

The proposed project will contribute to poverty reduction and social justice by increasing business and trade opportunities for marginalised communities in the comparatively poorer mountain areas of Karnali (Humla, Jumla and Mugu districts) through the improvement of NTFP production, trade and business, with a special emphasis given to the inclusion of the most vulnerable, marginalised and excluded groups such as women, Dalits and people with disabilities.

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