Inclusive Climate Resilient Value Chain Development
About the Implementing organization
Name: Bhumiraj Himalayan Nettle Collection and Processing Centre - BHN-CPC
Year of establishment: 2014
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Community enterprise or business / Cooperative business / Public-private partnership / Women’s association or organization / Indigenous group or organization / Ethnic minority group or association
Market outreach and engagement of private sector: Generally, attracting private sector engagement for business in remote mountain areas remains a major issue. The cohesion and performance of BHN-CPC motivated SABAH-Nepal, a private entity, to become their business partner. This private sector linkage has provided the much-needed market for nettle products. The buy-back guarantee scheme has ensured quality products from the group for market outlets in urban areas. The Kailash brand a transboundary brand has been created to bring recognition to the products from that landscape, which in turn has increased local bargaining power and provided support to the community’s traditional skills and practices. Improved processing technique: Replacing caustic soda with ash in the processing method has been an innovation that has reduced negative health impacts among the nettle processors. The new technique is environment-friendly in terms of reducing pollution. This organic product also provides niche value in the international market as chemical-free organic fibre. Increased fuel efficiency: The introduction of energy efficient stoves in the community has reduced the use of fire-wood by almost half, discouraging the cutting of trees. In addition, the level of smoke emission and indoor air pollution has been reduced. Cooking time per batch has also been reduced by 45 minutes, which minimizes women’s drudgery and allows them to spend more time on income generating activities.
Forests / Mountains / Rivers / Grasslands / Drylands / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Invasive species / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action
Himalayan nettle is a short-lived perennial plant with thorn-like stinging hairs abundantly found in the wild between 1,200 and 3,000 meters. Traditionally, caustic soda was used in excessive amount for processing nettle bark and these chemicals washed into nearby rivers that polluted the water sources. Replacing soda with ash has been an innovation to increase productivity while also reducing environmental impact.
Promotion of energy efficiency stoves has drastically reduced the average amount of fuelwood (from 240 kgs to 80 kgs) needed to boil the nettle bark, which helps to reduce excessive consumption and forest degradation. Stoves in households have also lessened smoke emissions and reduced indoor air pollution, which has led to gains in women’s health. Cooking time has decreased by almost 45 minutes per meal, which allows for more time with income-generating nettle work.
Sustainable Development Impacts
BHN-CPC focuses on reducing poverty by forming sustainable community enterprises and maintaining gender equality in decision making. As a community-owned enterprise, BHN-CPC has created employment opportunities at local levels. At present, 76 people are registered and directly engaged in various activities in the Centre. The Centre provides trainings on various skills (harvesting and processing techniques) as well as leadership development.
The once lesser known nettle fibre has become an important economic asset for the people in Khar. Apart from 27% increase in income from the sales of thread, they are earning additional income from new design and products which they sell to SABAH at premium price.
Ensuring the sustainability of nettle products becomes easier when the market reach is wide. The work initiated by BHN-CPC has potential to be extended to other 11 districts of Nepal and neighbouring countries like India. For better outreach of nettle products, the group launched “Kailash-Truly Sacred” brand and promoted nettle items with other products from pilot sites in Nepal and India under the same transboundary brand. Private sectors from Nepal and India were brought together for promoting the products in their respective countries. The products have been exhibited at national and international trade fairs in India and Nepal to establish markets and networks. With consistent and focused engagement, more than 25 nettle-based entrepreneurs have emerged at Khar, demonstrating the effectiveness of out-scaling a small intervention that was begun in 2014. The scalability is ensured through the interest of SABAH and other private actors who seek to partner and promote this venture.
The community owned enterprise development model and its participatory processes and tools are already being used to replicate across Nepal and landscape initiatives. ICIMOD is currently operating in several other value chains which are now benefiting from market interface and income increases. For this ICIMOD has used its network of partners across practice and policy to promote similar efforts across HKH region.
Since the nettle plant grows abundantly and falls under organic products its marketing code of conduct and certification potential has provided the basis for sustainable and environment-friendly fabric at very low-costs. Given the fast climatic and non-climatic changes, nettle value chain promotion has proven ideal to demonstrate external inputs including lesser consumption of energy, water and other ingredients to process the fabrics, thus making it a climate resilient economic option. Also, its potential to trigger women empowerment has gained traction for replication.
Share this solution: