What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Mentha has a powerful role for protecting from wildlife, but it can grow only during winter and spring seasons, so that it is necessary to promote other unpalatable crops such as chamomile, lemon grass, citronella, marigold, sacred basil for the minimization of annual crop damage and optimum utilization of distillation unit. Multipurpose distillation Unit made from steel seems to be beneficial for crops diversification and quality of oil. Lantana camera, an invasive species, which hinders the growth of forest and grassland, can be used as fire for distillation unit. It helps to maintain the better vegetation condition of community forest. The only risk that will be occurred through excessive mentha cultivation, soil quality would be worse which can be managed by adding sufficient farmyard manure and rotational cropping. For the food security in local level, aromatic crops should be promoted only in those lands which lies contiguous to the park boundary and where crop damage by wildlife is severe.
Tell us about your partnerships
Before implementation of project, series of the interaction and the orientation programme will be organized among the Buffer Zone Management Council, Buffer Zone User Committee, Functional Groups and the farmers. Lesson learned from our pilot project will be shared among the farmers and the stakeholders. Market of the menthol oil will be secured by doing agreement between the private company and the functional groups. The training will be organized before cultivation of the mentha plant in the farm level with participatory approach. Regular participatory and joint monitoring will be conducted for the proper implementation and success of the project. With the cultivation of mentha, conservation education also runs side by side to create the awareness about biodiversity conservation and link the conservation with the crop depredation mitigation measure. At the end farmers will be able to take action on biodiversity conservation and feeling ownership of park and its wildlife. National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Buffer Zone Management Council (BZMC), Bardiya National Park (BNP), Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Buffer Zone Management Committee (BZMC), Functional Groups (FG) and Dabur Nepal Private Limited will directly involve in the proposed project whereas the Terai Arc landscape (TAL - WWF) and Western Terai Arc Landscape Project(WTLCP) support indirectly as they have implemented varieties of activities from community development to park management. TAL and WTLCP focused their activities other than propose project working area. After seeing the progress of this proposed project there is a high chance of replication of the same type of project by TAL and WTLCP in their work area.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
The project aims to involve 500 farmers in the adoption of mentha crop with five community distillation unit in the initial year. Farmers who are supported in the initial year will provide the suckers to the other members and neighbouring group in the next cropping season. Newly enter farmers use the same distillation unit with nominal charge which goes to the community fund. As the proposed distillation unit is multipurpose, other aromatic pants can be distilled so the project has aimed to diversity the alternative crops in different seasons such as chamomile, lemon grass, French basil, Indian basil. The existing wild herbs leaves are also harvested in sustainable way to produce the oil. For the extraction of wild herbs pro-poor users groups are involved so that the landless people will be benefited in the next year. Further training and community mobilization will be organized by the field staffs of NTNC in collaboration with community based organization and Bardia National Park.