The inception of research project on “Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agro-forestry and community forestry in Nepal” is concluded today which included national level inceoption meeting, district consultation and field visit over the period of one week from 12th May to 17th May. This five-year research project is funded by Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR).
The two-day national workshop was organized to build consensus among the stakeholders on the research activities and sites. Following the national inception workshop, the district level stakeholder consultation was held on two primary research project sites on 14th, 15th and 16th May in Kavre Palanchowk and Lamjung districts respectively.
Addressing the national inception workshop, His Excellency The Ambassador of Australia, Glenn White expressed that there has always been good partnership between Australia and Nepal especially in the forestry sector in past and no doubt this new episode will continue on the same way. ” ACIAR has good experience in this kind of project and I wish for the success of the project”, his Excellency added.
The national workshop was inaugurated by the Secretary of Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Dr. Krishna Chandra Poudel who expressed gratitude to the Australian government for re-starting the support on forestry sector of Nepal on his inaugural remarks. “It is timely and necessary project for Nepal and will support the ‘Forestry for Prosperity’ vision by enhancing two pillars; livelihoods and food security”, said Dr. Poudel. “It is meaningful project for nature, people and all partners “, he added.
Mr. Tony Bartlett from ACIAR, Dr. Ian Nuberg from University of Adelaide, Dr. Krishna Shrestha from University of New South Wales, Dr. Yam Malla, Country Representative of IUCN Nepal and other national and international researchers also expressed their contributed to discussions on project implementation in the interactive national inception workshop.
During district inceptions meeting, the representatives from international and national partners had interaction with the district stakeholders such as District Agriculture Development Office, District Development Committee, District Livestock Service Office, political parties, local NGOs, farmers federation, FECOFUN etc. The inception succeeded in informing about the proposed research project and collecting suggestions for the field site selection.
The project will conduct its primary research activity in two Middle Hills districts: Kavre Palanchok and Lamjung but will also be conducted on satellite research sites in Sindhu Palchok and Kaski districts. The primary and satellite research sites will involve about 1200 farming households and 48 CFUGs.
The project will be focused on three domains; community forestry, agro-forestry and underutilized agriculture land. The project proposal draws on a scoping study and project planning workshop conducted in 2012 on research needs to enhance livelihoods and food security from agro-forestry and community forestry systems in Nepal. The scoping study included intense consultations with relevant stakeholders as well as field visits. The analysis indicated that the factors that impede the ability of community forestry and agro-forestry systems to provide adequate livelihoods are complex and are situated in social, cultural, political, ecological and economic domains. Some of the critical factors include: low productivity, sub-optimum management of community forests, persistent inequity and marginalization of community members, limited marketing opportunities and centralized planning and service delivery.
The main aim of the project is to enhance livelihoods and food security from improved implementation of agroforestry and community forestry systems in the Middle hills of Nepal. This research project forges collaboration between national and international partners who have been working actively in these areas. University of Adelaide, University of New South Wales, World Agroforestry Centre, IUCN Nepal, Department of Forests - Community Forest Division, Nepal Agroforestry Foundation, ForestAction Nepal, Search Nepal, Tribhuvan University - Institute of Forestry and Federation of Community Forest Users Nepal are the main partners of the project. The project will be led by University of Adelaide and supported by University of New South Wales. IUCN will coordinate the project activities in national level and ForestAction in field level.
The project will be managed in a participatory way; site level action research will be conducted with the participation of Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) and individual farm households. In each step and around each site CFUGs and farmer groups will be participating in meetings and discussion for planning, implementing, reflecting of the research activities. Dissemination of project achievements will occur primarily through participating CFUG leaders sharing the progress and result at different levels of the FECOFUN meetings.