The project was designed with the overall goal of improving livelihoods of mountain communities in three countries of eastern Himalayas: Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. It focused on the medicinal plant value chain. The project was implemented under the responsibility of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) from April 2007 to October 2012. From an overall budget of USD 2,30 million, the CFC contributed a grant of USD 1,62 million, of which USD 1 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development – OFID.
Project activities aimed to increase incomes of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) producers by designing local, national and regional interventions through assessment of community needs, knowledge and resource base of medicinal herbs sector in the three countries. An additional focus aimed to strengthen supply chains of herbal commodity, involving collectors, cultivators, and producers to better access national, regional and international markets. At the same time, enabling policies, institutions and market infrastructures and private sector investment have been promoted. Key project components included i) improved supply chain management to enable a) production enhancement and producer-market linkages and b) processing and marketing through value addition, and ii) policy, legal and administrative reforms to facilitate policy and institutional support for strengthening the sector.
The project has been implemented in Bangladesh by the Development of Biotechnology and Environmental Conservation Centre (DEBTEC) and the Bangladesh Neem Foundation (BNF), in Bhutan by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and in Nepal by the Herbs and NTFP Coordination Committee (HNCC) under the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC). In Nepal and Bhutan the project was successful in achieving its development objectives in terms of improving the processing and marketing of MAPs as premium price products, effectively linking the producers of medicinal plants to formal markets with positive spillovers on farmers’ income, while in Bangladesh, several operational difficulties at field level prevented the project to deliver its foreseen outputs. Altogether the project effectively targeted 890 farmer households, 600 in Nepal and 290 in Bhutan. Institutional development such as producer’s cooperatives and strategies for their efficient management were supported. Value adding activities related to primary processing as cleaning, drying, grading, and packaging were consolidated as part of a strategy to develop successful market linkages with the private sector. Common facility centres (CFC) were constructed in both countries as effective platforms for value added processing and market access. Farmers in Nepal achieved more than four times increase in income from MAPs production and trading in 2012, while in Bhutan project interventions also have enabled farmers in the project sites to substantially increase their income from MAPs production and trading.
The project outcomes and lessons learned have been included in the Project Completion Report (PCR) prepared by the PEA (ICIMOD). The PCR document can be accessed at the above link. More detailed information regarding the results of the project may be obtained from ICIMOD at firstname.lastname@example.org. This project was completed in October 2012.