A team from the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) travelled to Bhopal, India, in December 2017 to participate in the 6th International Herbal Trade Fair organized by the Madhya Pradesh State Minor Forest Produce (Trade and Development) Federation Ltd. This marked the second time KSLCDI participated in the event, the first being in 2016. The team members were there to promote the Kailash—Truly Sacred brand and disseminate knowledge about the key achievements of KSLCDI.
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At the event, the Kailash—Truly Sacred brand was promoted jointly by SABAH-Nepal and Revati Essentials/CHEA, India, as a transboundary brand promoting high value niche products from the Kailash landscape. KSLCDI has worked to provide alternative livelihood options to the rural communities in India and Nepal through the development of several value chains. It has linking private sector entities with communities to strengthen community participation. There were multiple presentations at the fair highlighting these KSLCDI activities.
Brij Mohan Rathore, Chief Policy Advisor, Natural Resource Management, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), shared his knowledge about the immense richness of natural resources available in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. He emphasized on the need for better management and use of these resources for the wellbeing of mountain people. He stated that the Convention on Biodiversity strengthens counties’ efforts for conservation, and the sustainable and equitable use and sharing of benefits from rich bio resources and associated traditional knowledge systems. Commending on India’s leadership on access to benefit sharing (ABS) under Nagoya Protocol, he emphasized the need for institutional strengthening across scale and stakeholders, including legal literacy on ABS and institutional coherence across local bodies like Joint Forest Management Committees, Biodiversity Management Committees and the Gram Sabha.
Anu Joshi Shrestha, Value Chain Specialist at ICIMOD, talked about the importance of branding for the promotion of mountain niche products. She also talked about her experience of how KSLCDI was able to bring two private sector bodies from India and Nepal together to develop community enterprises and compete in the global market through one Himalayan brand, Kailash—Truly Sacred. Shrestha emphasized on the globally growing market demand for natural and herbal products. “The Kailash brand can be looked upon as an example of a win-win situation achieved through collaboration between communities and private sector bodies in tapping the growing market for herbal and natural products,” she said.
Lipy Adhikari, Research Associate, Livelihoods, ICIMOD, elaborated on the importance of proper packaging in business and explained how this impacts the overall sales of products in the market. In her presentation, she displayed diverse products from different stalls at the herbal trade fair for the audience to understand and differentiate between various packaging styles.
KSLCDI exhibited several products from Nepal and India under its Kailash—Truly Sacred brand. The objective was to establish larger networks with relevant business organizations in the future. The KSLCDI stall was successful in gaining the attentions of visitors. Deepak Basnet from SABAH Nepal said that the total sales made in four days was worth approximately INR 30,000. Revati Essentials/CHEA participated in the marketing and promoting of the Kailash brand with SABAH Nepal. The two organizations signed their first MOU in November 2016. Abhishek Rautela from Revati Essentials said that the limited products they had brought for display purposes were sold out within 2 days. There were cases where visitors from the previous year came searching for KSLCDI stalls and re-purchased certain items like churi soaps and allo scarves.
Visitors at the KSLCDI stall
For SABAH Nepal and Revati Essentials, the event proved to be an opportunity to explore and establish networks with business dealers. “Since this was our second year participating in the trade fair, I was overwhelmed to see the response from new buyers and how well we were recognized by the buyers we catered to last year. Participating with SABAH Nepal, promoting the Kailash brand was a good exercise in setting expectations and goals for the future of the partnership. We were able to establish quite a few good connections with few future suppliers and buyers of our products,” Rautela. Likewise, Basnet expressed his gratefulness towards the organizers for providing them the opportunity of jointly promoting the Kailash brand. He said, “The promotion would not have been as successful without the support of Revati Essentials.”
Besides promoting the brand and the project’s achievements, the participation of KSLDCI team was also worthwhile in terms of motivating people to explore the potential of natural resources and efficiently using them for the enhancement of their livelihoods.
Madhya Pradesh is one of the richest states in terms of natural resources in India. Every year the state government organizes the trade fair with an aim to promote these natural resources. The trade fair also provides a larger platform for buyers and sellers to promote and negotiate their products and ensures fair benefit sharing between the actors. Thousands of people from all over India and also from the neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh participate in the fair to promote their products and establish business linkages. Apart from the hundreds of stalls displaying herbal products, free health camps and buyers sellers meet are major attractions of the trade fair.
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