On 29 October 2016, Ms. Evelyn G. Hoen, First Secretary of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nepal visited and observed different field level interventions of LI-BIRD in Kaski District. She visited Majthana VDC and Lekhnath Municipality where she observed sustainable agriculture practices against climate change and watershed management activities in Rupa lake and Begnas lake watersheds.
Field staff Ima Kumari Tamang briefed on the working of Millet Thresher.
Photo: Chandra Gurung, LI-BIRD
The visit started from Majthana, an upstream community of Begnas watershed area, where Ms. Hoen observed practices such as fresh vegetables cultivation under plastic tunnel combined with drip irrigation, animal shed improvement, sustainable agricultural kits such as corn sheller and millet thresher, yam in sack cultivation, and use of ICT (mobiles to access weather and market-related information) in Majthana. Ms. Hoen appreciated LI-BIRD’s inclusion of women in the training. She underlined the crucial role of women in agriculture, in addition to their traditional responsibility for managing water for the family, livestock and crops, many women are left with the whole responsibility of the farm, due to migration of the male family members. Ms. Hoen observed the new techniques that the women had put into practice to adapt to the climate change. The water basins and plastic tunnels had been built with mainly local resources, making drip irrigation possible and thereby a rich harvest of tomatoes and cauliflower which was sold in the local market or in Pokhra, depending on the price. She also visited the Information Centre and View Tower at Sundaridanda, Lekhnath Municipality. LI-BIRD field staff briefed her on the ongoing activities and the progress of the farmers in the fields. She interacted with the farmers who received her warmly, happily answered her queries and demonstrated her some of the practices.
During the visit to the Information Centre in Sundaridanda, Ms. Hoen observing the fishing net. Photo: Bibudh Dhewaju, LI-BIRD
LI-BIRD in collaboration with different stakeholders of the Lekhnath municipality is successfully implementing the Payments for Ecosystems services (PES), which will benefit both the upstream and downstream communities of Begnas Rupa Watershed Area and most importantly help in conserving the watershed area. The Information Centre and View Tower have also recently started to charge entrance fee to the visitors. The fund from the entrance fee is also a part of a payment mechanism which will be used in the conservation of the Begnas Rupa Watershed Area. Ms Hoen remarked the important work done in mapping of the rich biodiversity in the area contributing to strengthen people’s awareness and appreciation of both its natural beauty as well as the value of its environmental services. Ms. Hoen remarked that she was very impressed that LI-BIRD has reached quite far in creating common vision among the people of the watershed about the importance of PES. She said that she is quite interested to observe it in its final stage.
In her last leg of visit, she visited permaculture farm of Mr. Surya Adhikari at Begnas. Mr. Adhikari shared his experiences regarding ecological farming, importance of local crops and participatory plant breeding. Ms. Hoen was concerned about the farmer’s problems and discussed on how farmers in her homeland Norway are supported by the Government.
The Adhikari family warmly welcomed Ms. Hoen to their permaculture farm.
Photo: Chandra Gurung, LI-BIRD
Ms. Hoen also observed the farmers in upper stream to be doing “interesting work to produce products that can help them get cash income”. She expressed that “the establishment of value-chains and connecting farmers to the market so that they are able to sell their products, is important to raise the income level and for the creation of new jobs, particularly for the young generation, and which may thereby have a positive impact on the livelihood in the countryside”.