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Under the technical assistance of UN-REDD/FAO, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is working towards implementing the District REDD+ Action Plan (DRAP) for Chitwan in Nepal, which was developed and endorsed in 2016. As a part of the DRAP process, ICIMOD intends to support one cooperative each from four identified hotspots of Chitwan district. As one of the outcome indicators of DRAP, ICIMOD conducted a baseline study of the cooperatives, selected four cooperatives from the hotspots, and carried out an orientation programme to develop individual agro-forestry implementation plans for each cooperative.
The orientation programme was held from 9-12 February 2017 in Chitwan, and conducted by Bishwa Raj Karki, an independent consultant, and Trishna Singh Bhandari from REDD+ Himalaya, ICIMOD. Participants came from the four selected cooperatives, and the main discussion of the programme was the incorporation of agroforestry activities in the action plan of the cooperatives. However, since none of the cooperatives had strategy plans for their activities, it was decided that each cooperative needed such a plan to implement activities and mainstream agroforestry.
A facilitators’ workshop and training was held in Chitwan on 5 March 2017 for this purpose. Cooperatives learnt about methodologies relating to making strategy plans and implementing them through their respective cooperatives. The main objective of the workshop was to assist the preparation of individual agroforestry strategy plans for each of the cooperatives.
The three-day workshop was facilitated by Bishwa Raj Karki, who provided practical training on how to prepare a business plan. The first day included welcome sessions by Shaarda Oli, chairperson of Saemaul Cooperative, and Trishna Singh Bhandari from ICIMOD. Raju Chhetri, under-secretary of the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) provided insights into agroforestry. He also highlighted the different kinds of forestry subsidies provided by Nepali government. This session sensitized the participants about the possibilities of adopting and promoting agroforestry activities in their respective areas.
Sessions during the second and third day mostly focused on hands-on exercises facilitated by Karki. A business format was also distributed to all the participants. Karki discussed different types of business plans, and talked about how to calculate the incomes and expenditures of each business. Thus, the participants were divided into four groups according to their cooperatives and were assisted in preparing institutional or individual plans. Two of the participants volunteered to prepare their own individual business plan, and the rest prepared institutional business plans for their respective cooperatives. The business plans were presented on the last day of the workshop, followed by discussion and feedback sessions. The participants also spoke about their learning experience at the workshop, and hoped for guidance in the implementation of their agroforestry plans.
A major achievement of the workshop was that the participants were sensitized on preparing business plans for their cooperatives. They also prepared a sample business plan. Towards the end of the workshop, the participants understood the importance of agroforestry and confirmed that the agroforestry activities discussed would be incorporated into the strategy/business plans of their respective cooperatives. For the follow-up workshop to be held in Chitwan in April, participants were requested to gather the information needed to prepare an agroforestry plan so as to gain a better understanding of the importance of agroforestry.
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