Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agro-forestry and community forestry in Nepal

Participants of Inception Workshop

Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agro-forestry and community forestry in Nepal

“Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agroforestry and community forestry in Nepal”, is a research project funded by The Australian Centre for International Agriculture, ACIAR, in Nepal. This is very first research project funded by ACIAR in Nepal. The project period is of 5 years (from 1 April 2013 to 31 March, 2018). The project will be focused on three domains which are, community forestry, agroforestry and abandoned 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 agroforestry and community forestry systems in Nepal.

The scoping study included intense consultations with relevant stakeholders as well as field visits. The analysis indicated that there are factors that impede the ability of community forestry and agroforestry 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.  

Project Aim: To enhance livelihoods and food security from improved implementation of agroforestry and community forestry systems in the Middle hills of Nepal. The project will support the “Forestry for Prosperity” vision through research to enhance technical and social aspects of agroforestry and community forestry systems.

The project has three objectives,

1.       To improve the capacity of household based agroforestry systems to enhance livelihoods and food security.

2.       To improve the functioning of community forestry systems to enhance the livelihoods and food security of Community Forest User Group members

3.       To improve the productivity of and equitable access to, underutilized and abandoned agriculture land

Collaborative approach: ACIAR’s mandate is to support collaborative research for development. 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

·         Federation of Community Forest Users Nepal

Working with relevant national, regional and local government authorities, centre of expertise and local communities is central to the project, the project tries to create a genuine ownership of the research agenda. The project will be led by University of Adelaide and supported by University of New South Wales. Nepal project activities will be coordinated by IUCN, the field activities will be coordinated by Forest Action, Nepal.

Research Approach: This will be essentially a participatory action research. 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 household. 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.

Research Sites: The project will conduct its primary research activity in two Middle Hills districts: Kabhre Palanchok and Lamjung but will also conduct satellite research in Sindhu Palchok and Kaski districts. The primary and satellite research sites will involve about 300 farming households and 48 CFUGs.

Expected Outputs: The major expected outputs from the project will be,

1.       Improved management of agroforestry and community forestry systems including improved institutional and governance models for community forestry

2.       Research and demonstration sites trialing enhanced silviculture, managemenat and utlisation from community and agroforestry systems.

3.       Development of new markets and value adding process for timber and non timber products from agroforestry and community forestry systems

4.       Demonstrated approaches to bring abandoned agriculture land back into productive and equitable use

5.       Demonstration sites and extension material to disseminate the new knowledge

6.       A knowledge base to support improvements to the policy and regulatory environment for improving livelihoods from agroforestry and community forestry