The Pragatishil Pahad Project is designed to advance the long-term resilience of these hard-hit communities, rehabilitate the mountain ecosystems they rely on, improve and diversify their livelihoods and make local economies more equitable and sustainable. This is being accomplished by integrating sustainable farming of high valuable plants with ongoing efforts to rebuild. Another PPP goal is to enable earthquake-affected communities to restore their cultural heritage and resume social and religious practices.
We have seen that MAPs cultivation in mountain districts brings significant additional income that has helped lift farmers--many of them women--out of poverty. TMI has worked hand-in-hand with locals, providing MAPs training and helping to establish MAPs Cooperatives to assure better prices for their valuable products.
Since its inception in the fall of 2015, the PPP has facilitated 35 trainings on MAPs cultivation to over a thousand participants (45% women) in the Project area. All participants received 200 grams of Chiraito (Swertia chirayita) seeds during the training to help start their own cultivation. These farmers-in-training committed to MAPs cultivation on a total of 200 hectares (495 acres) of fallow or degraded private and/or community land. By using traditional and sustainable farming methods, MAPS farmers are also helping mountain environments rebound. Wild harvesting of these valuable plants, and the resulting habitat degradation, has decreased in districts where MAPs cultivation is underway.
In Gatlang VDC of Rasuwa, farmers now have access to a variety of MAPs species thanks to a multi-purpose nursery established as part of the PPP. The communities will now manage these nurseries to expand their MAPs cultivation to include plants for fodder and trees for commercial and domestic uses. The Pragatishil Pahad Project also provided compressor machines to two MAPs Cooperatives in Dhading and Rasuwa along with training in its use and operation. The compressors add value to the cultivated MAPs and other local crops because they compress the harvested plants into large bundles, which decreases the volume and reduces storage and transportation costs.