The extent of our impact in eastern Nepal continues to grow. One of TGT's greatest achievements has been the establishment of the Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre (DAFRC). The DAFRC is a collaboration between our partner NGO Eco Himal, the Deusa community and The Glacier Trust. It is now wholly owned by the community, is nearing financial self-sufficiency and is an exemplary model of what can be done to enable mountain communities to adapt to climate change. The AFRC provides numerous functions; it is a training school, a plant nursery, a centre for livestock breeding, an agriculture demonstration plot, an innovation centre and a community meeting space.
The AFRC is quickly becoming a focal point for the community and we will continue to fund its development and expansion for the next two years. Since starting work in 2013, we know that 2,296 people have directly engaged with the AFRC’s services, that is around 47% of the population of Deusa. The aim is to increase this to 70% by 2020. In 2017/18, there are plans to establish satellite nurseries in neighbouring locations to improve access to seedlings and equipment. We will also support more training, further improvements to the AFRC building and greater innovation in agricultural methods.
In tandem with the DAFRC, we fund a brand-new outreach programme covering Deusa and its neighbouring district Waku. Through our partners, Eco Himal, we employ Hari Kumar Kharki, an expert agricultural technician and educator. Hari travels, on foot, to farms right across the Deusa and Waku. His role, as an educator, is to introduce farmers to improved agricultural methods. He enables farmers to change the way they farm livestock and crops, so that their efforts are more profitable and more resilient to the impacts of climate change. This work is in its early stages, so far we have reached just over 1% of the farmers in Waku. By combining Hari’s work with the expansion of the DAFRC we plan to reach 25% of the Waku population by 2020, some 1,480 people.
On our most recent visit we observed how interactive and two-way this educational process is. Hari learns and teaches simultaneously as he travels from farm to farm. His learnings from one farmer are transferred to others as he takes the lessons one farmer has learned from the introduction of a new crop or technique and passes it on to others; he is a pollinator. In addition, Hari is fed new ideas by senior staff at Eco Himal and experts like Richard Allen, our Nepal based co-director who visit Solukhumbo regularly. Working with Richard, colleagues at the AFRC and the Eco Himal team, Hari is currently helping farmers to experiment with hazelnuts and coffee in Deusa and Waku. We are confident that conditions are right in this region to grow both; if successful they could become highly profitable new income streams for the community.
This is an article from our Summer 2017 newsletter. If you would like to receive a hard copy of our newsletter, please get in touch with us via our contact pages. Thank you for your support.