Asia and the Pacific, News from the Regions

Nepal GEF UNEP Local Crop Project Strengthens Capacity of Local Cooperative in implementing Community Based R &D Activities. :

July 7th, 2016 | Source: Niranjan Pudasaini and Devendra Gauchan

IMG_6345 GEF UNEP Local Crop Project (LCP)[1] has been working closely with local cooperative “Himchuli Multipurpose Cooperative” in Jugu Village Development Committee (VDC), a remote mountainous part of Dolakha district in central development region of Nepal. The cooperative is a local level Community Based Organization (CBO) which is collaborating partner organization of Local Crop Project (LCP) in Jugu Dolakha. The LCP is mobilizing and strengthening local cooperative by sensitization, by providing them technical guidance and by enhancing their exposure visits in order to grab opportunities for agricultural development. As a result, the Himchuli cooperative  has been one of the 8 local organizations (cooperatives) to be selected from the district to get permanent fruit/vegetable nursery support of NPR 300,000 (USD 3000) from local  government namely District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), Dolakha.

This was done in four major steps below:

1)     LCP sensitized local farmers to identify their problems and seek for the solution

Formation of Site Management Team (SMT) and the concept of Diversity Field School (DFS) that was implemented by the project can be considered as the key steps for community sensitization. Through DFS, LCP had arranged a platform for local farmer to discuss their needs and problems of farming system which is being conducted in regular basis. During the regular DFS the Need of fruit/vegetable nursery in Jugu was strongly felt by the local community and it was the first issue of DFS. In order to address priority needs, LCP had conducted a nursery management training in DFS as per farmer’s demand.  Eagerness to have a nursery was tremendous to have better and easy access on fruit and vegetable seedlings.  In first picture, LCP technician guided local farmer to identify their needs and in second, farmers practiced to establish plastic vegetable nursery.

2)     LCP mobilized local cooperative in LCP activities to enhance their capacity and exposure

LCP started to mobilize local cooperative called Himchuli Multipurpose Cooperative in LCP activity to bring them in agricultural development and on-farm agrobiodiversity conservation activities and make able to full fill their needs at local level. Cooperative successfully organized a local crop Bio diversity Fair on 2nd April with the support of LCP which made them well known among various stakeholders including national governmental agencies. DADO chief was invited as a chief guest and he was impressed by the effort and participation of local people. Impressed by the good work and initiatives of local cooperative in production and promotion of traditional crops, DADO chief instantly donated 100 pieces of hermetic bags for seed storage to local cooperative.  In below photo graph, cooperative president Mr. Jhalak Kumar Karki is receiving donation of hermetic seed bags from DADO chief Mr. Bauwa lal Chaudhary.

The event helped them to grab attention of DADO and develop relation to have coordination.

3)     Farmers  established vital community seedbanks in Jugu VDC, Dolakha

As cooperative led the process of establishing community seed bank (CSB) in Jugu, LCP supported and facilitated key representative of cooperative members to participate in CSB management training  and exposer visit in  Nawalparasi where they got maximum exposure and encouragement to work in community seed bank and related activities in agricultural sector. In following picture, cooperative members are getting training on CSB management organized by the project in Nawalparasi.

The participating farmers also gained a better understanding of the resources and facilities needed to operate community seedbanks, and how to mobilize local community-based institutions and develop networks with district-level government organizations, NGOs, research institutions and the National Gene bank, for technical and financial support. The chairperson of cooperative Mr. Jhalak Kumar Karki (see Figure below) presenting work plans with the support of project to develop linkage with DADOs and other district organization to generate funds and resources for community seed bank establishment and operation.Cooperative has become highly motivated by the capacity building, exposure visits and continuous support and guidance of LCP and eagerly seeking for opportunities to work in agricultural sector.

4)     LCP site team started to work in coordination/relation building between local cooperative and national agencies

IMG_5186LCP team continues to participate and share update about the LCP activities and local cooperative’s enthusiasm in district level forum. LCP’s advocacy in DADO office, their observation in field and demonstrating activities of community mobilization in Jugu like organizing diversity fair, initiation of CSB and continuity of DFS helped to gain positive thoughts and attention in district level forums. LCP team worked as a bridge to connect local people/organization and district level agencies to pass information and updates.

5)     In coordination of LCP site team and DADO Dolakha, local cooperative’s approach got success

When LCP site team came to know that DADO Dolakha has plan to support for permanent nursery development in eight places within the district, LCP team started to advocate in the issue and requested DADO with letter of interest from cooperative side. By considering previous enthusiasm of cooperative and LCP team coordination, DADO had a field visit in Jugu VDC and had meeting with cooperative member and LCP team and decided to select for the program.   DADO has mentioned, presence of LCP at site, platform of DFS and enthusiasm of cooperative make this effort come in to real. DADO will support all material and seeds along with tools to cooperative where LCP will supervise the activity.

This is the first event that local community organization of Jugu, Dolakha have got DADO’s (governmental) support program of this scale and which is the result  of LCP’s effort in the ground. This can be considered as a good example of strengthening local community based organization supported through GEF UNEP Local Crop Project being implemented  in Nepal jointly  by Bioversity International, NARC, LI-BIRD and DoA..

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[1] Local Crop Project (LCP) a local name of the Nepal GEF UNEP project “Integrating Traditional Crop Genetic Diversity into Technology: Using a Biodiversity Portfolio Approach to Buffer against Unpredictable Environmental Change in the Nepal Himalayas” implemented in Nepal jointly by Bioversity International, Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Local Initiative for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD) and Department of Agriculture (DoA).