Diyalo farms in the form of herbs for change

June 7, 2017

Nepal Placeholder
Nepal

Diyalo farms in the form of herbs for change

About the Implementing organization

Name: Diyalo Foundation

Country: Nepal

Year of establishment: 2014

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Community enterprise or business  / Cooperative business / Public-private partnership / Women’s association or organization

Description

Most Nepalis farm for subsistence only: the farmers just want to feed their families. We can teach them to produce ample crops so they can sell them to consumers throughout the country and generate money for themselves and their communities as well as create savings for the future. Excess wealth created this way can build the country’s capital and help drive growth in its GDP. This is instrumental in breaking the poverty cycle that grips the country.

The Diyalo Herbs for Change program is different from other agricultural programs in the country in several ways:

We will have international and national experts involved in the program working actively with farmers in the communities to ensure that the knowledge transfer is complete.

We will provide the money necessary to kickstart the program at the community level and ensure direct access to the national and international markets.

We will not ask the farmers to help fund the initial operation of the program. Further, we will not ask the farmers to risk any lost opportunity when working with us. However, since it is a cooperative, they also get revenue based on their investment (once dividends are released) and a 'voice' as shareholders.

The Clinton Foundation recognized the good work the Herbs for Change program has already delivered. In 2016, Diyalo launched a crowdfunding program to fund the expansion of the Herbs for Change program in Mude and other villages nearby.

Nature Element

Mountains / Rivers

Type of Action

Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

    

Environmental Impacts

The Herbs for Change program, based on growing and selling Swertia, was designed for this part of Nepal. First, the herb grew naturally in the wild. However, due to high demand and over consumption, entire populations of the herb had been wiped out over the past decade. Since it grows naturally in the wild, it is easily domesticated, with low maintenance requirements. Second, there is a huge market for the herb in India and China as well as in Nepal itself. It is a proven treatment for malaria. It is an organic medicine for diabetes.

Moreover, many rural Nepali's are not aware of how to farm using sustainable methods. Herbs for Change provides training to empower locals to turn a profit, protect their mountains and rivers by preventing pollution, and using clean agricultural methods, all the while benefiting monetarily from cooperative community collaboration.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The Herbs for Change program helps employ farmers to reap profits for their families. Last year, Herbs for Change employed 23 villagers (13 women and 10 men). This program employed a workers-cooperative model with gender-neutral working conditions. The workers assumed administrative, management and agricultural roles depending on their skills. Nevertheless, all of them received incomes proportional to their time and effort.

Diyalo is using the Herbs for Change Program to alleviate poverty and diversify jobs in villages by starting local, self-sustaining herb cooperatives with equal ownership by men and women. This program has been instrumental in helping the villagers foster a sense of economic independence. Some 50% of the revenue generated from this program was used to cover the operational and expansion costs of the two nurseries including income for the workers. The balance of the revenue was channeled to develop and maintain the local education and health infrastructures.

Scalability

The Herbs for Change program in the first community will serve as a demonstration project for other communities to emulate. It will also serve as the first of an on-going string of agricultural innovations.

Each of the Herbs for Change programs will need a small budget for maintenance and sundry materials for the farms. Some farms may need to buy pesticides or other items for their nurseries. Each community will have a manager for its Herbs for Change program and will have a small budget for incidentals.

The Herbs for Change program Diyalo is creating will be highly scalable due to ease of implementation. Diyalo may have to consider different high value herbs based on varying regions.

Replicability

The first two nurseries cover about three acres of communal land of the total 15 acres available.

The first crop will be harvested in May 2017. The profit from selling the products from the first harvest ($7 per kg for the herbs and $850 per kg for the services) will increase the income of each individual to $6 a week — a 200% increase from their previous jobs.

Our cooperative model is simple and highly replicable. We foster community ownership of an established cooperative. We provide seeds to project managers. We facilitate market access through Diyalo Trucking centers.

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