Nepal’s potential in the tourism sector, particularly in trekking, has been hampered by a lack of product development and consistency in quality standards. This sector brief explores the unveiling of Nepal’s first Trail Standards Guidelines and the certification of eleven new internationally recognised trail auditors in Nepal. The purpose of this intervention will be to define quality standards for the GHT brand leading to a better product - improved experience, safety and sustainability on trekking trails.
Samarth-NMDP is committed to sharing its best practices and lessons learned. In this section, you will find our most recent updates from the field, various case studies, research as well as more technical documents related to our programme.
An insight into the work Samarth-NMDP has done to improve productivity and marketing of the dairy sector through the diversification of milk products and creation of consumer-market linkages.
At present, the quality of Nepal’s physical destination facilities and service delivery do not meet expectations of higher paying international visitors who consequently opt to travel elsewhere.
Additionally, the 2015 earthquake is deferring interest due to safety concerns and the few visitors that do travel to Nepal are able to push rates down creating an unsustainable shift towards a low value model.
A market assessment conducted by Samarth-NMDP in the far-western region of Nepal confirmed that poor linkage between smallholder farmers and the market is a major constraint in the sector, particularly in the hills and mid-hills of Nepal. Traders operating in these districts typically collect vegetables only from those farmers close to their collection points. Farmers of remote villages have no option but to walk for hours to reach the main market.
Lack of effective information is a critical constraint to all businesses, particularly to smallholder farmers and rural micro enterprises that operate in information-poor environments where many information channels are ineffective, inaccessible or unaffordable.
In the fish sector, lack of access to quality seeds - hatchling, fry and fingerlings - has been one of the major problems for farmers across the country. Every season, smallholder farmers struggle to acquire timely and necessary quantity of seeds. This reduces the harvest period by up to a month which results in fish that are smaller in size at the end of harvest fetching lower price.
There has been a dramatic improvement in Kamadhenu Dairy Development Corporation’s (KDDC) performance after partnering with Samarth. KDDC has increased its raw milk collection from 10,300 l/d in January 2014 to 19,000 l/d in January 2015 - an increase of about 85%. Samarth had supported KDDC to diversify their product as well as make other strategic changes in their business practice. With increasing demand of milk for production of diversified dairy products, KDDC is in a position to consistently collect milk in both seasons.
Low productivity in pigs is a major problem in the pig and pork production cycle in Nepal. The absence of pedigree breeds and a shortage of quality seed stock in the government run facilities and private breeders has led to in-breeding in the sector, producing piglets of lower weight and slower growth.
Cultivating the land is an arduous, physical task, especially on the steep terraces of the mid-hills. Over 40% of farmers have access to draught animal power (mainly oxen and buffalo) via around 250,000 owners. Among draught oxen and buffalo owning families, women are usually tasked with gathering forage and caring for these animals – spending around an hour a day in doing so.
Samarth-NMDP’s mechanization component began in June 2013 and decided, based on initial market analysis, to focus primarily on facilitating the development of the mini-tiller market in the mid-hills. This is where the deficit in labour is being most acutely felt, and where the mechanization market is least developed.
Marketing strategies adopted by importers of mini-tillers have, so far, not been able to reach out to the farmers of the hills in reducing their skepticism, informing the benefits of mini-tillers and making mini-tillers and repair services accessible. Samarth-NMDP has therefore, partnered with one of the importers of mini-tillers, based on their willingness and capacity, to pilot the business advisory services such as farmer-focused service provision, improved investment in after-sales and repairs, and collaboration with local government and extension officers for social marketing.
Samarth-NMDP has partnered with the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council (KCAMC). Under these partnerships, activities such as trail maintenance, capacity building and awareness trainings, construction of trail bridges and porter shelters, and installation of information boards and directional signage will be carried out. Ownership of infrastructure facilities will rest with the relevant District Development Committees (DDCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs).
Using a market systems development approach, Samarth-NMDP has started working with private companies to improve the productivity of pond aquaculture, through improved fish feed. Samarth-NMDP has been helping to innovate new business models for feed manufacturers, to diversify their product offerings and develop viable distribution/marketing mechanism
Samarth-NMDP has set out to lay the foundations for improving the enabling environment, for inclusive growth in the pig sector. A critical first step in this initiative was to bring together – for the first ever time in Nepal – public and private actors engaged in the industry, to identify challenges and issues facing pork production and marketing, with a long-term view to have the industry themselves drive the identification of critical policy issues required to unlock growth.
As part of adopting a market systems approach to development, Samarth-NMDP has been working with private companies to stimulate more sustainable access to quality forage seed for smallholder producers. In collaboration with public agencies, Samarth-NMDP has been helping to innovate a new business model for private seed companies to diversify into forage seed production and sales. Now, for the first time in Nepal, seven seed companies have begun a contract farming arrangement with seed multipliers for the commercial production of a summer forage seed.
Samarth-NMDP, the first programme to apply a ‘making markets work for the poor’ approach in Nepal, is addressing the causes, rather than just the symptoms, of this dysfunctional disease management system. Instead of taking a direct role in supplying Trichoderma, Samarth is unlocking the potential for two national Trichoderma importers, Crop Pro Tech (CPT) and Everest Agro Tech (EAT), to improve the supply of trichoderma to smallholder farmers. Taking a ‘market systems’ lens, the programme asks why these players currently lack the incentives and capacity to drive innovation – which will continue to generate better results for the poor long after Samarth-NMDP comes to an end.