Progress in Udayapur, Nepal

3-6 December 2014 

A field report by Kamal Aryal 

Background 

Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) and Nabaprabhat Nepal (NP Nepal) organized a three-day review-cum-planning meeting at Gaighat and Rauta in Udaypur district from 3-6 December 2014. ICIMOD was invited to participate as an observer. The main objective for ICIMOD’s participation was to observe the action research interventions on ecosystem management and plan for the year 2015. ICIMOD, BCN, and Nabaprabhat together with the research farmers visited the action research activities and discussed achievements and challenges in implementing the interventions. After the field visit, a half-day interaction with the research farmers and members of Dumrithumka Community Forest User Groups was organized in Rauta. Besides, BCN and NP Nepal presented and shared the progress and challenges in implementing action research at the Gaighat meeting. 

Objectives of the field visit 

The main objective of the visit was to observe the status of the four action research interventions on ecosystem management and discus achievements and challenges in implementing the activities. The team also discussed the potential interventions for 2015. 

Key achievements from the field 

  • BCN, NP Nepal, ICIMOD, and the research farmers from the Dumrithumka CFUGs observed the action research interventions in Rauta VDC. The team had better understanding of the status of the action research activities and the interventions that are progressing well towards the anticipated outcomes. 
  • Chairperson of Dumrithumka CFUGs appreciated the interventions made by NP Nepal, BCN, and ICIMOD through action research interventions. He said they could already see the initial results of controlled grazing system, home garden improvement, and improved cooking system. 
  • NP Nepal reported that they already distributed 35,705 saplings of 16 different species of fodder and tree species to the community people which were planted in degraded forest areas, along river banks, and in home gardens of the community people. 
  • Eight varieties of different fruits (about 600 saplings) and about 10-15 varieties of seasonal vegetables have been distributed twice to the 30 households of the home garden improvement programme. Besides, a community managed vegetable and fruit garden block has also been established for community learning and benefit sharing. It is also expected to serve as a demonstration field in the future. 
  • Home garden farmers were appreciative of the programme contribution in supporting diverse seasonal and off seasonal fruits and vegetables which provide them diversity in their food basket. Further, the consumption volume of vegetable has increased. Some farmers said they now sell tomato and brinjal to the local market. 
  • Established good network with District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) and District Forest Office (DFO) of Udaypur. These offices fielded resource persons who the trained research farmers on vegetable production and nursery management. DADO also provided the resource book on farming system to the research farmers which they have been using for the management of their vegetable and crops for better production. 
  • A series of pH test showed that the soil in that area has less organic matter, therefore, the programme is planning more interventions on integration of leguminous species in the current practices. Plans are also there for the establishment of compost pit at the household level. 
  • The improved cook stove programme has covered 48 households, and the beneficiaries mentioned that this has reduced the use of fuel wood almost by half. 
  • NP Nepal and BCN presented the progress and challenges on action research and methodological approaches. The achievements so far are in line with the action research objectives. 
  • BCN and NP Nepal have agreed to sit together in the coming week to discuss and plan the 2015 activities and improve collaboration and monitoring system between organizations, line departments, and community members. 

Key Challenges 

  • Too many expectations from communities, especially on development interventions like irrigation and drinking water. 
  • Communities feel that controlled grazing has negative impact on goat production both in terms of meat and reproduction. 
  • Regular monitoring and evaluation of the intervened activities, especially on zero grazing land and plantation in degraded forest areas which are primarily communal interventions. 
  • Documentation of the research progress in a systematic way, and the need to develop the format to record key parameters.

Follow-up Action 

  • Follow-up with BCN for baseline report, annual progress, and financial report for review and finalization. 
  • Identify dates for exposure visit to the district level line departments and key CFUG members, and joint monitoring visit to the action research sites in the first quarter of 2015. 

Farmers show vegetable diversity in their kitchen garden