International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)

Project area:

Jumla and Humla of mountain region of Nepal.

Identification of Strategic Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) for the IFAD supported Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Program (WUPA) Nepal was a multilateral project of the IFAD. The executing Agency is International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an Intergovernmental Organization established in 1983 having its office in Lalitpur.

The project was implemented in partnership with one Nepalese professional NGO and a Private Limited Company. The two implementing partners were DEPROSC-Nepal and Dabur Nepal Pvt. Ltd. The project had provided special emphasis to supporting women and disadvantaged group of the society. .


As part of the pre-implementation research, a pilot participatory action research activity was to be implemented in the first phase districts. The overall objective of the pilot participatory action research activity was to identify suitable NTFPs, study their economic, social and environmental feasibility and confirm the modus operandi for disseminating the technology.

Activities and Achievement of the Project

Socio Economic Survey
Socio economic information has been collected in the settlement around the demonstration plot in order to trace out the intensity of the poverty in general and to identify the target beneficiaries in particular. This information was obtained through the individual household survey. Sample households were selected on random basis. A structured questionnaire was developed and interviewed with the household head along with other family members. In the entire project period, 170 hhs (71 samples in Humla and 99 samples in Jumla) were selected and interviewed. The survey is conduct for around 50 percent of the households in the identified VDC. Brief summary of the survey findings has been presented here under.

The survey showd that the average family size among the respondents in Humla (5.8%) is a bit lower than that of Jumla (6.4%). Likewise, average land holding per household is 0.23 ha. in Humla, and slightly higher (0.29 ha.) in Jumla. Among the surveyed households, some 78% HHs in Humla and some 57% HHs in Jumla pose less than 0.25 hectares of land. Around 2% HHs are completely landless. None of HHs in Humla and only 2 HHs in Jumla have more than 1 hectare of land. Around half of the families are involved in Agriculture & animal husbandry either directly or as wage labourer.

Respondents of Jumla collect NTFPs like marchella (Gucchi chyau), padamchal, chiraitia etc. from the forest of their domestic uses, some of them even sale Gucchi chyau in relatively better price. Around 40% of the total off farm earning in Humla and around 6% earning in Jumla is from sale of Herbs. In an average, earning per household from herb collection and sale is Rs. 4620 in Humla and Rs. 1076 in Jumla.

The survey findings revealed that all the respondents except 16 households (15 in Jumla and 1 in Humla) were under food deficit. Around 14% HHs have food for only less than 3 months. Likewise, wealth ranking indicator shows that round 52 % HHs fall under poor categories followed by 36% medium and 12% rich.

Trial Plot Maintenance
Trial plots were established for herbs namely Akarkara, Chiraito, Sugandawal, Kutki, Lauth Salla (Taxus Baccata), Kuth and Atis at two sites i.e. Humla, Simikot-VDC Ward-1 and Jumla, Chandannath VDC Ward -5. The growth & performance of the plants were satisfactory end except Chiraita, probably it could not adopt the climate of low humidity & high altitude (3100 m). Since chilling temperature increased after January, the growth performance of Kuth and Atis at Jumla were not recorded.

In order to supervise the trial/demo site, three local watchman were also hired and trained on how to brief the local visitors/passersby about purpose of the study, importance of NTFPs and their market values so that they can brief about the study when technical staff of Dabur Nepal or DEPROSC-Nepal are not present in the site. The provision of guard to look after the saplings planted and plot has helped to maintain the plots.

Trial Plantation and Peoples’ Participation
The plantation, hoeing and weeding of demonstration plots were done by the poor and disadvantaged women, however participation from male was also significant. The female participants had ample opportunities to understand the importance of herbs and skills on cultivation practices during the participation, which in long run would be beneficial to upgrade their household economy.

Gender sensitization was an integral part of this project in social mobilization activity. In all activities such as information meetings, training, group familiarization and mobilization efforts are being made for ensuring gender equity and balance. Special focus has been proposed and given to receive women participants in these activities. It is a difficult and challenging task to mobilize women. However, women are encouraged to take decision-making responsibility during the socio-economic survey at household level. Male is also realizing the importance of women’s participation in the project activities as male migrates for off-farm incomes for the couple of months in a year.

Demonstration/ Spread effect
Local CFUG members were also taking interest in the trial/demonstration. As they became familiar about the importance and market value of the Attish, Akarkara, Taxus and Sugandhwal. Nice growth of Akarakara in the site has further created interest to grow these species in their Community Forest. This has further strengthened their feeling since Dabur Nepal has assured the buy back guarantee. Humalees are willing to establish herbal nurseries in their private farmland too.

DDC Chair person Mr. Jiban Bahadur Shahi has shown his strong commitment to help this project and willing to spread this program through the Community Forest User Groups and Leasehold Forestry Programs.

Likewise, District Forest Officers, Local development Officers has also expressed their commitments and continued support regarding the commercial promotion and channelizing the MAPs in Jumla and this has resulted a herbal garden establishment in Humla districts from the local initiation.

In the process of domesticating trialed species some harvested seeds and saplings of NTFPs were further trialed at the LFUGs and well as out side the LFUGs. The species mainly consist of Akarakara, Sugandhawal, Chiraita and Kuth. Among these, the highest number of replicated species is Akarakara which is found to be very much easy to adopt in the fellow land of Leasehold site. Here we have some figures of replication.

District LFUGs Species Total saplings in the nursery Saplings transplanted in the Field
Jumla Different 11 LFUGs of Chandan Nath VDC Akarakara 24350 24350
Humla Different 6 LFUGs of Simkot VDCs Akarakara 17373 600
Sugandawal 300 300
Total     35873 25250

Survival rate of the species transplanted at private land of farmers

S.N. Name VDC Survival rate at present by species
Akarakara Sugandhawal Chiraita Kuth
1 Mr. Padam Bahadur Mahat Mahatgoun -2 0 0 60 0
2 Mr. Ram Krishna Budthapa Chandannath – 5 14 90 60 97

Herbal Garden Established

A herbal garden has been established in Simkot VDC of Humla district on the auspicious occasion of the World Environment Day 2004. The indigenous herbs have been preserved and maintained in this garden and its has been supported by DDC (WUPAP), CDO, DFO and other NGOs and INGOs working in the field of MAP/NTFP in Humla.

NGOs, INGOs, Bi-lateral and Multi-lateral agencies working with the NTFP promotion activities in Jumla and Humla consist of (i) USC/Canada, (ii) Humla Conservation, (iii) Sustainable Community Development Program (SCDP/UNDP), (iv) Snow land Integrated Developmet Centre, (v) District Partnership Program (SNV/DDC) and (vi) Women Welfare Service.

Number of training is organized at the community, district and central level in the process of transferring technology and skill related to nursery raising, green house construction, management, propagation, cultivation and management of NTFPs and MAPs.

The training was basically designed for the lead farmers, technical staff of District Forest Office, Local Development Fund Board and DEPROSC. Numerically, 208 participants have been benefited from the organization of such 9 training. These training were organized mostly by WUPAP, Dabur Nepal and DEPROSC under the financial assistance of ICIMOD.

Name ofTraining Number Location Participants Organized by
Male Female Total
Sustainable propagation & management of MAPs 2 times Jumla 49 23 71 Dabur, Deprosc & WUPAP
Sustainable propagation & management of MAPs 1 time Humla 23 1 24 Dabur, Deprosc & WUPAP
NTFP nursery raising 2 times Jumla 24 16 40 DEPROSC
NTFP nursery raising 3 times Humla 42 17 59 DEPROSC
Green house management and NTFP cultivation 1 time Banepa 13 0 13 Dabur and DEPROSC
Total     151 57 208  

Leasehold Development

Major thrust of this trial and demonstration project is to develop the Modus Operandi for the commercial cultivation and domestication of NTFPs and MAPS and to extrapolate it to the larger Leasehold Forest so as to increase the income level of the rural poor. In this endeavor, the following progress has been achieved.

SN Major Outputs Unit Jumla Humla Bajhang Bajura Total
01 LFUGs formation No. 65 33 37 50 185
02 Members Involvement No. 952 478 648 809 2887
  Male No. 457 268 290 578 1593
  Female No. 495 210 358 231 1294
03 Occupational and Deprived Caste (so called Dalit) No. 124 36 114 258 532
04 Community Consensus Obtaining No. 51 33 37 50 171
05 35 Days Notice Issue No. 51 33 37 50 171
06 Lease site survey No. 51 33 37 50 171
ha 798.5 809.39 840.58 907.25 3355.72
07 Operational Plan Preparation No. 41 33 37 50 161
ha 556.73 809.39 840.58 907.27 3113.95
08 Operational Plan Submission to DFO for Approval No. 41 27 37 47 152
ha 556.73 695.74 840.58 795.25 2888.3
09 Operational Plan Approval and Lease certificate handed over No. 41 27 37 35 126
ha 556.73 695.74 840.58 468.25 2561.3
Members 553 402 648 457 2060

Farmers Need Assessment (FNA)

In Tallogaun (Khaddak) of Simikot VDC, one meeting was organized to discuss and collect ideas and attitudes of the community towards the NTFP cultivation. Both male & female were invited. All together there were 18 members in the discussion. They have shown positive impression to the NTFP. However, following concerns were raised during the discussion regarding the commercial cultivation of NTFPs in the locality.

· The average land holding is quite small even out of them irrigated land is all most nil or negligible. Therefore, risk bearing for new crop seems too low. If a crop fails then life becomes even worse.

· Marketing possibility of food grain in the market other than the Government Depot is almost impossible therefore; issue of food security is crucial.

· Price and marketing channels of NTFPs are not institutionalized, therefore, it is uncertain to relay with local traders for timely sale of products in competitive price.

· Participants feel obtaining of NTFPs seedling is still difficult and proper cultivation methods are also not familiar enough.

Address to the Farmers Concerns

Concerns of farmers have been addressed through the following initiations.

· Two satellite nurseries at different agro-ecology have been established in each district so as to provide the seedlings of NTFPs and MAPs to the farmers, however DEPROSC’s social mobilization resources of WUPAP was used in this regards.

· Three individual farmers have established nurseries at their own field in Jumla. (Mr. Ram Krishna Budthapa, Mr. Karna Nepali and Mr. Shiva chandra Khatri). Chitirato, Aatish, Kutki, Padamchal, Sugandawal and Akarakara are the species that farmers are growing at their nurseries.

· Among the issues raised, channelizing the MAPs product has been addressed through the organization of cooperative marketing training.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of Major Crops in Jumla and Humla

In order to review the economic feasibility of NTFPs and MAPs cultivation in the cereal farming land, a short cost benefit analysis was done both in Jumla and Humla district in the month of June – July 2002. The analysis showed that cultivation of staple cereal such as Buckwheat and Barley in Humla and Rice in Jumla has insignificant profit where as Barley in Jumla has negative return. The mere profit from Buckwheat, Barley and Rice is also not a real profit in fact. It has excluded the opportunity cost of labour and land and other inputs such as manure. Therefore, we have highly recommended the replacement of those cereals with other crop. However, it is still quite early to recommend the cultivation of NTFPs and MAPs that we have under trial since the modus operandi and cost benefit of those species is yet to come.

Physical Features of Leasehold Sites

In the social mobilization process, we have attempted to document the physical information of leasehold sites of each LFUGs in Jumla, Humla, Bajhang and Bajura districts which are the first phased districts of Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project (WUPAP). Information consists of leasehold site altitude, slope degree, soil type, moisture, aspect, rainfall, snow fall, temperature etc. The information will be useful in identifying the basic NTFP/MAP species to recommend for cultivation in each leasehold site.


Jumla Chapter

The status of the planted species is as under as of April 2005.

  • Taxus baccata – Survival percentage till April 2005 in all treatments was 92% and it was slightly higher in Composted than non compost plot. The growth status was not satisfactory, however growth rate at present is 95%.
  • Kuth – Because of high chilling temperature, plants has entered into the dormancy phase. None of the plants were appeared at the time of observation.
  • Sugandhawal – The plants have shown good performance with 89% survival rate and satisfactory plant growth in demonstration plots. 290 grams of dry seeds have been collected last year.
  • Atish – Because of high chilling temperature, plants has entered into the dormancy phase and no measurements were taken as of March 2005. At last season, plants were affected by Green aphid and were controlled by Roger.
  • Akarkara – The early stage of its growth was most promising however at present the survival is around 63%. With the progress of dormancy period, senescing occurred and height of the plant was not recorded. Because high chilling temperature, plants have entered into the dormancy phase. During last year , there was 405 morality in the plant. This was probably due to fungal disease. However, the spray of krinoxyl (Metalaxyl 8% W/P, Mencozeb 64% W/P) reduced the dying intensity.
  • Kutki – The survival rate is around 67% and the growth is satisfactory. Due to the dormancy phase, the height of the plants were not measured.
  • Chiraito:- The survival of this species is about 49% only. It was affected by Black aphid which was controlled by Nuvan.
Species Survival % Height (cm) No of branches Canopy diameter (cm)
F1 F2 F1 F2 F1 F2 F1 F2
Lauth Sall 91.00 92.25 28.5 29.75 37.3125 41.00 0.9 0.925
Sugandhawal 88.7125 87.6675 17.625 19.475 34.6875 36.375
Akarkara 67.325 55.05 18.42 19.62 20.875 21.7375
Kutki 67.1175 66.75 19.9875 24 22.375 24.75
Chiraito 48.75 48.75 94.75 99 7.375 8.25 1.100 1.35