Allo, Himalayan nettle (Girardinia diversifolia) is a plant that grows abundantly without cultivation in the hilly and mountainous regions of Nepal as well as India, China, Bhutan. It holds great cultural and economic significance to the mountain communities in the region.Commonly referred to as Allo in Nepali, it has been harvested in the region for a long time and is a major source of income and sustenance for the people.
Allo fiber has high economic value as it is considered superior to jute. Parts of the plant such as roots, stems, leaves, and inflorescence can also be used to prepare traditional medicinal formulations to treat various diseases and ailments.
A value chain is a process that adds value to raw materials such as Allo – the plants are transformed into high-value sellable goods such as bags or clothes.
There is a need to set up a production hub and partner with organizations that can sell the products and fetch good prices for the farmers.
The Allo fibre is washed and dried before it is turned into fabric
The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) selected Naugad Rural Municipality, located in the remotest far western part of Nepal, as a pilot site for developing of a value chain for Allo. Housed in the Api-Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA), Naugad is characterized by poor accessibility, limited economic opportunities, high outmigration, with women and marginalized communities held back on socio economic issues and choices.
In Naugad, a community-owned Common Facility Centre (CFC) was established with private-sector support from the SAARC Business Association of Home-Based Workers (SABAH) Nepal. SABAH became our partner in the project, helping sell the products.
Apart from working as a production hub, the Centre also nurtures women-owned enterprises at different nodes of the value chain. This is done by providing women with learning opportunities in cities in India and Nepal, and facilitating the many processes in the value chain.
In addition to building sustainable Allo businesses in the area, the intervention will also help minimize the effects of climate change with:
The intervention has led to increased efficiency and innovation at the local level – there’s now sustainable income for many families. The intervention has also increased women’s influence in the community.
Additionally, the quality and range of Allo products have also increased, opening a greater possibility of value addition, as well as additional income for the entire community.
Apart from a significant increase in income, solely from the sale of Allo thread, additional revenue is also generated from bags, cushion covers, hats, scarves, and coats, which the CFC sells to SABAH Nepal at a premium price. These products are sold in Kathmandu and in the international market.
The CFC also trades a range of products such as beans, ghee, rice, and medicinal herbs to SABAH Nepal and to other local and regional traders.
Each of the RMS solutions are linked to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the UN in 2015. This intervention aims to support the following SDGs: