ABOUT HERB NEPAL
Herb Nepal (HN), established in December 2014 is an innovative organic farm and training centre, based in Naichal, Bhaktapur (central region). HN is a Private Limited social enterprise legally registered in Nepal.
The overall mission is 'to create a better world, a fairer world and a healthier world'. The farm works closely with small-scale farmers and communities to actively promote the principles of organic and sustainable farming methods.
As an exciting and groundbreaking farming environment, with a range of income generating activities taking place, HN will become financially independent. Planned activities for 2016 onwards include farms stays, fee-paying training courses, community-led initiatives and volunteer and intern placements. The income from these activities will be partly reinvested into the running of the SC programme to secure its future.
ABOUT THE SC PROGRAMME
The SC pilot programme has been created in partnership with small-scale farmers and is aimed at small-scale farmers in Nepal. The programme offers a refreshing solution for small-scale farmers that improves incomes and reduces food waste; achieved through the alternate cultivation and processing of high-value organic herbal crops.
This means farmers can access fair, inclusive and improved herbal markets which provides an alternative to vegetable farming and markets.
Programme aim: To connect Nepalese small-scale farmers to herbal markets; by growing, processing and producing organic herbal products together to increase farmer incomes and strengthen local environments.
1. To increase the income and improve living standards of 6975 small-scale farmers and their families;
2. To improve access to fair, inclusive and sustainable organic herbal value chains for 1395 small-scale farmers in 3 districts within three years;
3. To train 1395 small-scale farmers in organic and sustainable farming methods.
Motivated by the desire to bring about positive social change, it seems self-defeating to cap the potential of this idea by the use of beneficiary numbers. Therefore, minimum target numbers are included although we intend to achieve much more. Working in partnership with IDEO, we believe this idea has the potential to scale up, replicate and take this idea to farmers that live in other vulnerable areas in Nepal.
Minimum primary beneficiary numbers include a farmer network of 1395 members made up of; 45 Champions (Cs) and 1350 Farmers (Fs). Beneficiaries will include 5580 family members of the Cs and the Fs. Total beneficiary numbers are 6975 which is based on an average family size of five within Nepal.
The focus districts will be in the central region (Sindupalchowk, Kavre and Bhaktapur).
The programme can be summarised by a 4 step approach:
1. SC Training - The Training & Demonstration (T&D) hub based in Naichal, Bhaktapur provides trainings in sustainable and organic farming and herbal production that combines indigenous, local and modern farming knowledge to small-scale farmers.
The SC training programme provides ongoing comprehensive support for farmers over a 3 year period. Interventions for farmers include access to new farming technologies, provision of market prices, ongoing support and advice from the locally based HN Community Mobiliser.
The HN team, based at the T&D hub will train fellow farmers from across the target areas within 3 years. These farmers certified as Champions (C's) will then train fellow Farmers (F's).
2. Cultivation and Farmer processing - All farmers (C's and F's) that have been trained on the SC programme will then cultivate high-value organic herbal crops. Fs with ongoing support from Cs, will use organic farming methods to maximise land productivity, increase incomes and strengthen their local environment. Additionally, herbal crops can be used to support and improve the health of the local community and to increase the biodiversity of community forests. Depending on climate and regional variations examples of crops include Ginseng, Valerian, Lemongrass, Tumeric and Ginger.
A unique aspect of the SC programme is to enable small-scale farmers to process locally, resulting in increased control over the herbal value chain. Processing can take a number of forms including dehydration, pulverising, and extraction. Farmers have an option to take these herbs to market independently or to HN for either processing or packaging.
The added benefit of processed herbal crops, unlike other foods is that they have a long shelf life. Once dehydrated, and as long as they are stored in an airtight container herbs can last in a warehouse facility for over a year.
3. Transportation and production - Farmers can decide to bring them to the HN Processing and Production centre, based in Sanga, Kavre (1 hour from Kathmandu and 25 minutes from Naichal) or a local collection centre. Quality and quantity of the herbs will be checked, confirmed and payment will be made to the farmer.
Where required and depending on the requirements of the target market, HN will create additional value through the use of additional post-harvesting processing and production methods and techniques. Examples of products include natural cosmetics, dried herbs, teas, tinctures, salves and creams, flower essences and foods as medicines (depending on findings from market research).
Throughout the 3 year pilot period, HN intends to sell products in national markets via local farmers' markets, on-site retail, speciality retailers, Ayurvedic doctors and the wholesale market.
4. Up-scaling - Following the initial three year pilot period, HN plan to scale-up the activities using a three‐prong strategy.
Regional export market: Explore and initiate export markets in China and Japan to access new markets.
In-house manufacturing: Manufacturing will be scaled-up to widen product range and gain control over the value chain and to reinvest higher income into the SC programme.
Regional Training centres: Regional training centres in the far-west region will increase the reach of the SC Programme and the inherent benefits.
The impact of the SC programme will be:
- Increased incomes and improved living standards for small-scale farmers and their families;
- Improved access to fair, inclusive and sustainable organic herbal value chains for small-scale farmers;
- Increased use of organic and sustainable farming methods;
- Improved biodiversity and stronger environments in target areas;
- Improved personal health in target areas.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Internally, progress will be tracked to ensure that we are exceeding expectations of this programme. HN only develops systems that help, not hinder our actual work. There will be internal reporting mechanisms, line management in place to ensure that everyone in the HN is supported in their work and have the opportunity to excel. It will be useful to use some basic, yet effective methods for capturing key information, such as focus group discussions, interviews, attendance sheets and registration forms but otherwise the focus of the work will be practical in nature with minimal levels of bureaucracy.
SUCCESSES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Sath Sathai Mundi, a local NGO in Timal, Kavre requested Herb Nepal to conduct the SC programme as a consultant service. This training is currently taking place for 50 women farmers from the Tamang community. This programme is providing a unique opportunity to test, reflect and make amendments on the proposed SC pilot programme.