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Rural enterprise and value chain specialist,
I focus on collaboration with actors at each value chain node to strengthen the competitiveness of that sector, creating a win-win situation for all. I work with businesses so that they can aim create larger shares of the market instead of competing with each other for the same share of the market. In order to do that, it’s important for farmers to work together in groups so they have better bargaining power, so there’s increased scale of products or services, so value is added at the local level, and so transaction costs are reduced through efficient processing and promotion of mountain high-value niche products. Private sector linkages also play an important role in all of this. Bringing private sector actors to the mountains and facilitating collaboration and communication is sometimes difficult, but ensuring volume and quality at an affordable price is paramount. At each node – from production, through processing and eventually to market – there are a number of enterprises and entrepreneurs who play important roles to make each individual value chain more effective and efficient. My role is to identify and create opportunities and linkages for those entrepreneurs and enterprises, nurturing them and strengthening them so that mountain value chains with their mountain specific attributes can gain distinct recognition in the global market and can turn challenges into opportunities.
Anu Joshi Shrestha
How do you protect the pulse of the planet?
By focusing on people, planet and profit, our work seeks to reduce poverty and enhance livelihoods while also protecting the planet. Climate smart practices such as efficient use of water, encouraging organic practices, reducing carbon emissions through improved stoves or solar drying technologies in various value chains such as cardamom, vegetable, bamboo, ginger, honey, Himalayan nettle, and Himalayan soapnuts are some of the processes and practices that we’ve encouraged and through that – together with mountain entreprenneurs and enterprises – we protect the pulse of the planet.
What is your favorite part of the work you do at ICIMOD?
My favorite part of my work here at ICIMOD is the diversity both in work and among the people with whom I work. With so may different initiatives and a focus on interdiscplinarity, we get to work across various initiatives, which have different focuses and dimensions. We also have people from all over the world with different cultures, languages, ethnicities and academic backgrounds. I feel like there is one whole universe under the one ICIMOD umbrella. Through the various functions we celebrate together – be it Christmas or Holi or sports week – so many colleagues have become friends and now it is to me more like a family working at ICIMOD.
What are you passionate about?
I am very passionate about what I do. It means a lot to me getting an opportunity to serve the people with whom I work who often live far away from cities in the mountains and face difficulties such as marginality, inaccessibility, and environmental fragility.
Over the last 15 years I’ve worked intensively for mountain people and their livelihoods through value chain and enterprise development in the various HKH countries. Prior to joining ICIMOD, I worked as an advisor on local and regional economic development for GTZ under their private sector promotion programme, where I also served as the focal person for the non-timber and medicinal plants sector. I also worked for the National Trust for Nature Conservation as a knowledge management officer. Compassion towards and care for nature and our planet was instilled in me during my early career experiences when I immersed myself in conservation and development. This provided me great learning and was a nice change from the profit-drive focus I experienced during my MBA studies. I was also a faculty member in Kathmandu College of Management, Kathmandu University from where I complemented my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA). I also completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales, UK, specialising in marketing and human resources development.
I joined ICIMOD in August 2009 as a value chain specialist within the livelihood team, looking at all high value mountain niche products and how to harness opportunities which would help to showcase to the world the riches of our HKH mountains.