Nepal’s potential in the tourism sector, particularly in trekking, has been hampered by a lack of product development and consistency in quality standards. This sector brief explores the unveiling of Nepal’s first Trail Standards Guidelines and the certification of eleven new internationally recognised trail auditors in Nepal. The purpose of this intervention will be to define quality standards for the GHT brand leading to a better product - improved experience, safety and sustainability on trekking trails.
An insight into the work Samarth-NMDP has done to improve productivity and marketing of the dairy sector through the diversification of milk products and creation of consumer-market linkages.
At present, the quality of Nepal’s physical destination facilities and service delivery do not meet expectations of higher paying international visitors who consequently opt to travel elsewhere.
Additionally, the 2015 earthquake is deferring interest due to safety concerns and the few visitors that do travel to Nepal are able to push rates down creating an unsustainable shift towards a low value model.
A market assessment conducted by Samarth-NMDP in the far-western region of Nepal confirmed that poor linkage between smallholder farmers and the market is a major constraint in the sector, particularly in the hills and mid-hills of Nepal. Traders operating in these districts typically collect vegetables only from those farmers close to their collection points. Farmers of remote villages have no option but to walk for hours to reach the main market.
Lack of effective information is a critical constraint to all businesses, particularly to smallholder farmers and rural micro enterprises that operate in information-poor environments where many information channels are ineffective, inaccessible or unaffordable.
In the fish sector, lack of access to quality seeds - hatchling, fry and fingerlings - has been one of the major problems for farmers across the country. Every season, smallholder farmers struggle to acquire timely and necessary quantity of seeds. This reduces the harvest period by up to a month which results in fish that are smaller in size at the end of harvest fetching lower price.
There has been a dramatic improvement in Kamadhenu Dairy Development Corporation’s (KDDC) performance after partnering with Samarth. KDDC has increased its raw milk collection from 10,300 l/d in January 2014 to 19,000 l/d in January 2015 - an increase of about 85%. Samarth had supported KDDC to diversify their product as well as make other strategic changes in their business practice. With increasing demand of milk for production of diversified dairy products, KDDC is in a position to consistently collect milk in both seasons.
Low productivity in pigs is a major problem in the pig and pork production cycle in Nepal. The absence of pedigree breeds and a shortage of quality seed stock in the government run facilities and private breeders has led to in-breeding in the sector, producing piglets of lower weight and slower growth.
Cultivating the land is an arduous, physical task, especially on the steep terraces of the mid-hills. Over 40% of farmers have access to draught animal power (mainly oxen and buffalo) via around 250,000 owners. Among draught oxen and buffalo owning families, women are usually tasked with gathering forage and caring for these animals – spending around an hour a day in doing so.
Samarth-NMDP’s mechanization component began in June 2013 and decided, based on initial market analysis, to focus primarily on facilitating the development of the mini-tiller market in the mid-hills. This is where the deficit in labour is being most acutely felt, and where the mechanization market is least developed.