|Regenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1992, 210 p.)|
Today in Nepal, more shall at anytime in its history, there is a need for an environmentally-sensitive approach to agricultural development. Given the deterioration of ecosystems, the scarcity of food and fuel, the loss of soil fertility and its impact on household food and energy security, the approaches to be promoted must be carefully selected.
Over the years, numerous government and non-government agencies have focused their activities the mid-hill areas of Nepal. Many of these adequately tested experiences merit wider-scale promotion. Other less well-tested approaches that have implications for restoring the microenvironment need to be further disseminated for adaptation, and refinement.
Useful information materials have been generated over the years by various groups in support of their field activities; but some of these arc no longer in circulation or other agencies are not aware these materials. There is often a preoccupation to produce materials limited to technical areas in which a specific agency is engaged. However what is often needed is a resource kit of potentially relevant and environmentally friendly ideas to suit a range of situations, which cut across discipline boundaries and agency identities. An emphasis on low-external inputs is desirable.
To fill this need, the Nepal Rural Reconstruction Association (NERRA), a small, newly-established nonprofit and non-government organization, and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruct (IIRR) conducted a workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal, from April 16 to 25,1992, in order to product this information kit on Regenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal.
The topics to be included in the kit and the resource persons were determined by an inter-agency committee especially set up (a year earlier) for purposes of guiding this participatory approach to producing agricultural-communication materials. Invited to the 10- day workshop - held at the Ambassador Hotel in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal - were more shall 60 individuals from more than 40 agencies (government and non-government). The following organizations were represents still this workshop:
Action Aid/Nepal, Agricultural Project Service Centre (APROSC), Asia Network for Small-Scale Agricultural Bio-Technologies (ANSAB), Canadian Center for International Studies and Co-operation (CECl), CARE International/Nepal, Central Division of Agronomy (DOH), Central Division of So - Science, Central Food Research Library, Department of Agriculture, Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM), Fruit Development Division (DOA), Gorkha Development Project (GTZ/Gate), Himalayan Angora Rabbit Farm, Horticulture Agronomy Support Programme (HASP, UMN), Horticulture Development Project, Department of Horticulture, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Nepal (INSAN); Integrated Pest Management Project (GTZ), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kaybee's Group, Koshi Hills Development Programme, Livestock Project, Lotus La Organic Farm, Lumle Regional Agricultural Research Centre (LAC), National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), National Avian and Swine Research Programme (NASRP), National Herbarium a Plant Lab., National Hill Crop Research Project (NHCRP), National Potato Development Program (NPDP), Nepal Agroforestry Foundation, Nepal Community Support Group (NECOS), Nepal Resource Management Project, Non-formal Education Service Centre (NFESC), Padma Kanya Campus, Pakhribas Agricultural Centre (PAC), Roughton and Partners, Royal Nepal Academy of Science & Technology, (RONAST), Rural Save Grain Project (FAO), Save the Children Federation (USA), Thapa Bee Consultancy, Tribhuvan University, United Mission to Nepal (UMN), USAID/Nepal, Vegetable Seed Production Centre (DOA), Woodlands Mountain Institute.
During the workshop, the invited resource persons presented their technical topics in the form of single sheets, complete with illustrations. Their papers were then reviewed, critiqued and improved upon by fellow participants: scientists, technical experts, academicians, project-level workers, extension leaders and trainers. They were backstopped by artists, editors, communication and computer experts and other people who have had previous experience producing technical information kits through the participatory process.
Immediately following the workshop the IIRR-NERRA team met at Pokhara April 27-30th to finalise tile list of topics to be included and to decide on design and layout considerations of camera-ready drafts. The computer firm - Sama Computers - which provided support through the three-week period, finalised all documents for the printer by May 3rd. On May 4th the camera-ready versions were displayed to an invited audience of Kathmandu-based development agencies which met at the ICIMOD campus in Kathmandu.
The kit is designed for use primarily by trainers, non-formal education workers, agriculture extension leaders and university village-outreach programs involved in the improvement of hill- agriculture. The special bias of this kit is its emphasis on technologies that could help halt degradation, provide fodder, enhance household food and energy security and restore the environment. Most of the materials in the kit were locally derived and tested. Many ideas originated with farmers themselves. The workshop, printing costs and support staff costs were met by lCIMOD, DANIDA, CARE and USAID, all based in Nepal. Ford Foundation/New York provided funding to partially cover costs incurred by IIRR.
A Nepali version kit (translated) for use by front-line workers is expected to be produced later.