Karnali provincial workshop on pollination and pollinators


Shamis Basnet


Hon. Minister Bhim Prakash Sharma inaugurating the workshop along with Dr. Narahari Ghimire, Mr. Bharat Bhandari and Mr. Bhojraj Sapkota. Photos: Hem GC, LI-BIRD.

Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) organized a 2-day provincial workshop on pollination and pollinators on 22 and 23 March, 2024 in the Karnali province. The provincial government has envisioned itself to transform into an organic province by making a formal declaration through the cabinet formed after federal restructuring. This initiative from the province is also backed up by the Karnali pollinator strategy formulation, which is one of the important interventions of the Pollination Management project funded by Darwin Initiative. The project is overall led by University of Bristol with LI-BIRD and HERD International implementing the project interventions, technically supported by Tribhuvan University, and Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) from Nepal.

The workshop intended to share the initial draft of Karnali pollinator strategy as prepared under the guidance of Technical Working Group (TWG) and collect inputs from a wider range of stakeholders to further improve this. In this workshop, honorable Mr. Bhim Prakash Sharma, the Minister, Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperative (MoLMAC), honored the event as the Chief guest and inaugurated the formal session. Special guests included Mr. Bharat Bhandari, Executive Director of LI-BIRD, Mr. Bhoj Raj Sapkota, Chief of the Center for Industrial Entomology Development (CIED), and Prof. Dr. Punya Prasad Regmi, Vice Chancellor of Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU). Mr. Purna Bahadur Thapa, Agriculture Officer of MoLMAC, hosted the formal session of the program. In total, 69 participants (61 males and 8 females) from various government and non-government organizations (MoLMAC, Directorate of Agriculture Development, ARD, ALBPTC, etc), I/NGOs, academia, beekeepers, media, etc. participated in the event. The workshop was structured to engage all attendees through presentations, group exercises, and addressing any queries and concerns.

The first day of the workshop began with a formal commencement of the workshop from Hon. Minister Bhim Prakash Sharma followed by the participant introduction and a keynote presentation from Mr. Sujan Sapkota, Project Manager, from HERD international. He presented the importance of pollination and pollinators in Nepal, highlighting the significant negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on the local agricultural system correlated with the findings of Micro-poll project, which attempted to look into the inter-relation between pollination, nutrition and climate change. The finding underscored the critical role of pollinators in increased agriculture production and alarming decline in pollinators, emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address these challenges and safeguard agricultural sustainability and human well-being. Hon. Minister Sharma then highlighted the importance of understanding off-season contributions and emphasized collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forests and Environment (MoITFE). Hon. Minister concluded by urging the development of a cohesive strategy encompassing both pollination and marketing aspects for sustainable progress in this critical domain.

The workshop participants engaged in Group exercise.

Mr. Dipesh Neupane from LI-BIRD, Team Leader, DI Pollination Management project, shared the initial draft strategy, prepared by the project with the support from TWG and DI project team. The key themes of the draft strategy include i) Improved pollinator understanding through research and evidence, ii) Increase pollinator awareness and management capacity, iii) Conserve and enhance pollinator friendly habitats, iv) Promote agroecology and pollinator friendly nature-based solution, v) Sustainable beekeeping measures. This was followed by collaborative group sessions focusing on the first theme outlined in the strategy. The participants were divided into four groups as per four strategic themes outlined in the strategy, discussed among each other and provided their suggestions to strengthen the strategy further. Mr. Bhojraj Sapkota (CIED), Dr Kedar Devkota (AFU), Mr. Ram Prasad Mainali (NARC) and Mr Madhav KC (Bee entrepreneur) presented their papers aligning with the strategic themes, which also provided important insights on these topics and facilitated for group exercises. 

Custodian Beekeeper Mr. Purmal Basnet explaining the importance of diversity in pollinators.

Experts highlighted the vital role of pollinators in agriculture, food security and biodiversity conservation, stressing the urgency of collective actions to mitigate threats such as habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use. Discussions highlighted the interconnectedness of efforts across sectors and emphasized the necessity for integrated approaches and policy coherence. Group activities provided valuable insights into key themes, which will be incorporated while revising the strategy, reflecting the participatory nature of the strategy formulation process. Participants such as custodian beekeeper, academician, development practitioners, agriculture development officers, etc. shared their experiences and inputs that are instrumental in further tuning the strategy document. In addition, there was a quadripartite agreement between MoLMAC, CIED, AFU and Mid-west University for establishing a Beekeeping resource center in Jajarkot district of the Karnali Province, which also can be termed as a significant outcome of the DI pollination management project. This resource center is envisioned to promote sustainable beekeeping initiative by putting bee pollination service at the center.

The workshop offered a pivotal platform for wider stakeholders to reflect upon the initial draft of the strategy with meaningful engagement through insightful presentations, dynamic discussions, and collaborative endeavors among the workshop participants. Proposed strategic themes offer a comprehensive roadmap for safeguarding pollinators and securing pollination management in the Karnali Province, but ultimately the result will depend on the effective implementation, partnerships, and collaboration. In conclusion, the workshop laid a solid foundation for the development provincial pollination strategy as well as coordinated efforts to protect pollinators, promote agrobiodiversity, and enhance food and nutrition security of the Karnali province.  The final pollinator strategy thus formed will be presented to the MoLMAC for endorsement through the cabinet and formal enactment.

Group photo of the participants.

Reviewer: Dipesh Neupane, Hari Krishna Bhattarai and Laxman Khatri.