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IN-MAPs Project

IN-MAPs Project: Implementing the NTIS in the Sector of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (IN-MAPs) is the third Tier 2 project that has been approved by the EIF Board for implementation in Nepal. Under the technical assistance and capacity building category, the EIF has provided 3,000,000 Euros and the GoN has done counterpart funding of 300,000 Euros. The duration of this project is for three years with an overall objective to strengthen the capacity of the MAPs actors in the coordination and implementation of the NTIS in the context of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.


Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) is one of the major products as identified by the NTIS 2010. The Himalayan use of medicinal and aromatic plants has directly contributed to the livelihoods of people in Nepal’s mountainous areas for centuries. Nepal’s biodiversity exists due to its unique climatic conditions, and many isolated topographical locations that host around 7,000 species of plants. About 1,800 species are currently in use for the production of Ayurvedic, Unani, and Siddha medicines and for essential oils. A recent report counted 701 species of medicinal plants in Nepal. Out of the total, about 250 species are being traditionally used for medicinal purpose and more than 100 species have been commercially collected from the wild. The major part of collected plants is exported to India in raw form. A smaller part is processed into essential oils or used in the manufacturing of traditional Ayurvedic medicines. Most of the processed essential oils are exported to overseas markets and then used in the manufacturing of cosmetics, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. Local production of such items for export is very limited. At present, two regions (Mid-Western and Far-Western) contribute together more than 85% of the total collection of herbs in Nepal. Both these regions are also significantly affected by poverty.


The expected results from this project are:

  • The production and manufacturing practices of the actors are improved, with a focus on sustainability and marketability of the products.
  • The capacities of related government offices, private associations and local bodies are strengthened for coordinating MAPS related activities and for providing services to the private sector and community.
  • Market access of value added products to the priority export destinations has improved through collective marketing/branding.


The project will assist stakeholders in the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) value chain from the private sector, including business service providers, as well as from relevant government entities in the implementation of the action plan as derived from the NTIS. This assistance will be given in the form of training, workshops, technical assistance and advice. To ensure tangible results the project will work with associations and federations that are capable of implementing these activities and that have been engaged in respective activities in the past. Among other activities, the project will upgrade the MAPs value chain by introducing new marketing strategies, such as organic certification, trademarks or geographical indications, and by qualifying local producers to deliver on the respective requirements. The target group includes owners and employees of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), suppliers and producers, in particular community forest groups, women and traditional knowledge-holding local groups that would benefit from the enhanced business environment and better trade opportunities.

 

The Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) industry constitutes an important export sector for Nepal in terms of revenue generation potential, employment potential, potential for social impact and most importantly, for poverty alleviation. For this reason, the sector ranks high on GoN’s agenda for uplifting poor through enabling supportive actions and is included as one of the high potential export sectors in the NTIS. At the same time, GoN also recognizes the importance of strengthening the sector’s institutional support structure to provide valuable market and trade information along the sector's value-chain. The sector was jointly selected by the MoCS to receive broad support.

 

More than 95% of commercially used herbs from the country are wild, organic and natural, though not certified. The sector has the potential to contribute more to poverty alleviation as it provides employment in remote areas where the harvest takes place. There is a surging global market and growing consumers’ preferences for natural food and natural health care and herbal products. In addition, due to factors such as ample opportunity for production expansion, availability of organized human resources at the collection and processing levels, Government’s sectoral policies and legislations support, the area enjoys good prospects for organic certification from internationally recognized organizations of different countries. These internationally certified organic products can fetch better prices and have good market access, all the while contributing to maintenance of a balanced eco system.

 

In general, herbs collectors are using traditional knowledge for pre- and post-harvesting operations and processing. There is scope for reducing wastage and improving quality through proper training and the introduction of information management systems.