Annual Report 2015: Mountain innovations and community practices

From Honey to Nettles, Value Chain of Products in Kailash Grows Rapidly 

The Indian butter tree is a superb multitasker. It controls erosion, grows in poor soil, its seeds are made into butter, its flowers make a tasty honey – and it can help farmers out of poverty. That’s why it’s earned a role in value chain interventions to benefit marginalized farmers across the Indian and Nepali parts of the transboundary Kailash Sacred Landscape.

While Indian farmers used improved beehives to enhance the quality of honey from butter trees, women in Nepal benefitted from another forest crop: Himalayan nettle, locally known as ‘allo’. Trained in weaving, knitting and design, they’re transforming the natural fibre into purses and crafts for urban markets, part of a woman-friendly value chain in places where most men are gone as remittance workers and women entrepreneurs are rising to the fore. 

Meanwhile, vegetables and yak milk products are the focus of efforts in Tibet. Soap nut, too, proved its worth across Kailash, particularly for farmers trained to separate the raw nuts by quality grade and fetch better prices.