The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) and its partner SABAH Nepal participated in the 14th National Handicraft Trade Fair at the Brikutimandap Exhibition Hall in Kathmandu from 25-29 November 2016. The event was inaugurated by Nanda Kishor Pun, the vice president of Nepal.
KSLCDI represented the ‘Kailash—Truly Sacred’ brand, launched in May 2016 during the 13th National Handicraft Trade Fair, promoting it as a transboundary brand. Thousands visited the fair, and partners from both Nepali and Indian regions of the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), specifically KSLCDI pilot sites, were on hand to celebrate the launch.
On November 28, KSLCDI launched an allo community training manual. Resham Dangi Chief, Foreign Aid Coordination Division and Sagar Rimal National Program Coordinator of Kailash from the MoFSC, David Molden, director general of ICIMOD, and Rajan Kotru, regional programme manager for transboundary landscapes, ICIMOD, were present.
Molden congratulated partners for having come together under one umbrella brand for the enhancement of livelihoods. Dangi said that the manual would be a useful tool for training workers, and talked about how the branding of products from KSL had helped ensure better product quality.
Kotru emphasized on the potential and need for fostering transboundaryness in the region. He said that the Kailash initiative’s work should be mainstreamed on several levels of policy and practice, particularly with respect to sustainability.
Extending support, a number of dignitaries visited the KSLCDI stall over the course of the five-day exhibition. Nepal’s state minister for agriculture Radhika Tamang seemed particularly interested in learning about allo and its various uses. Former Nepali minister Buddi Raj Bajracharya and the Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae spoke to the Kailash team about the initiative’s work in different pilot sites in KSL. The dignitaries also interacted with Indian partners, who had brought along products from Uttarakhand to display at the fair.
The National Trade Fair brought two private sector bodies together for a good cause. Abhishek Singh Rautela from India’s REVA Organic Farms Pvt Ltd shook hands with a representative from SABAH Nepal in a symbolic gesture, seeking collaborative marketing potential and better functionality. Mohan Bhatt from the Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA), India, was astounded by the response Kailash products received at the fair. "We did amazing business here,” he said.
Community members who attended the exhibition said that the trade fair provided them a networking platform on which to represent themselves and their people. "The fair has made me realize how important a role allo plays in my life. I can make a living through allo for as long as I live," Dama Thagunna from Khar, Darchula, said.
Caps, scarves and cloth knit and woven from allo sold like hot cakes at the exhibition. KSL-India’s Chyura honey, chyura ghee and chyura soap were also big sellers. Raajma (red lentils), black soybean, nigalo (Himalayan bamboo) baskets, and turmeric also sold very well. More importantly, contacts were set up with national and international buyers and companies.
For KSLCDI, winning the “best stall at the fair” accolade on the last day was the icing on the cake. The exhibition experience ended on a very positive note.