Project 5: Sustainable tree crops & bioengineering
Partners: EcoHimal & Helvetas
Location: Mountain region; Deusa & Waku VDCs in the Solukhumbu district.
Problem: The Sustainable Tree Crops project in Solukhumbu District builds on the TGT-funded establishment of the AgroForestry Resource Centre (AFRC) in Deusa VDC (see Project #4), implemented and managed by EcoHimal, and will ensure that the AFRC becomes an important focal point in the overall development of the farming sector, the response to risks from climate change, and in the expansion of livelihood options in the mountain district of Solukhumbu.
Solution: The programme will be centred on the AFRC which will provide training, guidance and support to farmers in all aspects of tree cropping, land and crop management, and marketing of produce. The project will further develop this very useful centre, where tree crop seedlings of many varieties will be produced.
Due to the reduced number of young people on the farm for heavy labouring work, the cultivation of tree crops is a sound alternative to increase the income of rural communities, and to reduce the drudgery of annual cropping.
Helvetas will provide technical assistance from their long term Coffee Promotion Programme, and their new focus on the promotion of nuts. The Horticulture Centre, National Citrus Development Programme and Fruit Development Directorate, Kirtipur will provide assistance and training in the management of specific tree crops.
Tree crops are already grown on a small scale in Solukhumbu and they include oranges, lemon, banana, mango, papaya, and coffee. This is envisaged to be a long-term project of at least 10 years duration; phase 1 is the foundation for the future and more widespread activities, and its success will hopefully lead to increased funding from more than one source.