Organic Living: Amazing Agritourism

Organic Living: Amazing Agritourism: Be Connected. Be Part of It.

Pokhara, NepalPokhara, Nepal
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Organic Living offers individual agritourism holidays in Nepal. Our guests get an insight in organic farming in the region of Pokhara. You can discover the region, participate in the farmers’ daily life and engage yourself contributing to the development of agriculture and livelihood of our farmers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every tourists visiting in Nepal stays at least one night with a farmer or buy local-organic produce from them?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Tourism is a potential sector in Nepal with contribution of 3% in GDP. Contrarily, agriculture where 66% population are engaged, is facing many problems like small holders are lagging behind in the global competition (imports), suffer from environmental damage and risk losing their livelihood. Therefore, our project connects tourism industry to small holders by providing additional income sources that is better alternative than labor migration.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Promotion of, and awareness about, organic agritourism is part of the solution. Our company Development Voyage works with more than 300 smallholders in rural communities around Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal and provide market for their produce (www.thebazaar.com.np). In addition, Pokhara is the best and popular tourist destination of Nepal. We have already connected more than 100 tourists per year to our farming communities since 2011. To scale up we offer our clients to become our 'organic living tribe members'. With membership they get various offers of sustainable holidays that brings additional income to farmers while engaging themselves in development of organic agriculture through sharing of their skills and expertise.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Chitra Bahadur Chhetri, 40 years old farmer, lived in Rivan village. Subsistence farming was not sufficient to make living for his 7 family members including education & health care. In his early twenties he went abroad as labor migrant for more than 15 years. He returned Nepal in 2008 to hopelessly find no improvement in his situation. He was very frustrated when we met him in 2011 to discuss on Organic Living project with the farmers of Rivan. He registered as a "host family" in our project to receive guests regularly in his homestay. He is now able to continue his agriculture productions and sales with having additional annual income from agritourism. He lives happily in Rivan and his 3 sons are able to join higher education.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Some impact of our work to date: - More than 50 farmers out of 300 members of our partner agriculture cooperative are registered to receive guests from us. - More than 100 Nepali and foreign guests received our services yearly to enjoy and get connected to the heart of Nepali life, culture and beauty. - Agritourism has brought additional income in average 15-20 thousand rupees per family per year. So, income is available for education, health care or investment in farming activities. - Attraction and motivation towards organic agriculture is increasing among our farmer members as agritourism has made their farming business economically viable. - It also contributed to increment in the production and sales of organic fresh produce from our sister venture i.e. THE BAZAAR sold fresh produce of average Rs. 5000/day in 2011 to Rs. 20,000/day in 2013, adding income directly to farmers.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We are gradually developing our project into a sustainable business. We recently launched our website www.organiclivingnepal.org to promote our offers to wider public. On one hand we are working to upgrade hospitality standards of our registered members while also adding new members from our partner cooperative. We have target of adding around 30 'organic living tribe members' annually. It helps us to extend our client base while increasing our community engagement and services. By 2015, we have planned to extend our services outside Pokhara and build network with farmers from other regions.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have two models of revenue generation to ensure financial sustainability of our project without depending on external support. One, the tourists who wish to enjoy their sustainable holidays in Nepal and subscribe our offers pays for our services. Second, we offer 'organic living tribe membership' to clients who share our philosophy to get long-term discount and special offers. They pay membership fee while becoming our regular clients.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Nepal, agritourism is potential sector yet in a developing stage. Some individual farms and also the government policy of 'homestay tourism' & 'eco-tourism' promote rural tourism that links to the farmers. Nevertheless, as of now these offers are widely scattered and the tourism is primarily promoted by the mainstream agencies that do not connect to the reality of farming communities. Our project differ these approaches as we are trying to create a network of organic farmers who actually need support to develop their agriculture initiatives while sustaining their livelihood.
Team

Founding Story

In 2008, we initiated a 'Youth in Sustainable Development' project where the youth in Rivan, being near to Pokhara, identified tourism as potential livelihood option. It was first in 2009, I organized an intercultural trip to Nepal for 7 Swiss students and took them to stay in Rivan for a week. This trip provided an insight to me that tourism could actually contribute to sustainable development of a rural community. I started my company Development Voyage in 2009 to develop and promote organic products of smallholders living around Pokhara. Tourism was a side project until 2011 when we started getting more people interest to visit our farming communities. Thus, we developed 'Organic Living' as a separate business venture for agritourism.

Team

Development Voyage (DV) and its three ventures Organic Living, Saathi Bio Farm and THE BAZAAR were founded and managed by a team of youth committed to sustainable development of Nepal. At present, Tulsi Giri, co-founder of DV looks after development of Organic Living. A swiss entrepreneur Mr. Patrick Honauer is assisting as an advisor, a swiss volunteer is helping in PR & communication and Projol Giri, a young staff helps in the operation.
About You
Organization:
www.thebazaar.com.np
About You
First Name

Tulsi

Last Name

Giri

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, GA, Pokhara

Country where this project is creating social impact

, GA, Pokhara

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Businesses, Customers.

Supplemental
Sector

Inclusive Business, Smallholder Farmers.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

We have identified students, semi-professionals and professionals from Nepal and abroad who are looking for alternative tourism options in Nepal as our customers. Mostly, they are interested in organic agriculture and issues of sustainability and want their holidays to be enjoyable and purposeful. We engage our customers by offering them opportunities to live and work in a farmers' family, involve in research and expertise sharing, and also combining extra activities to explore the beauty of Nepal.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

The success of our project depends on number of customers subscribing our services of sustainable holidays and becoming member of our 'organic living tribe'. The prize money will help us to develop innovative marketing tools to reach even more clients and to upgrade hospitality services in the farmers' family. It will also help in increasing networks and 'proof of services' to the clients that traveling with us will bring contribution to the farming communities of Nepal. Moreover, being selected in the competition will also increase the confidence of our team and the farmers working with us that agritourism is actually worthy to develop the organic movement. Hence, more farmers and clients can be connected and become part of Organic Living.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

Being a founder of Development Voyage, I initiated THE BAZAAR: Market for Fairtrade & Organic in 2009 a supply & sales business of organic produce in Pokhara, Nepal. We started selling fresh organic produce from our own 'Saathi Bio Farm', which increased to the network of more than 300 farmers at present. THE BAZAAR has 3 outlets in Pokhara. Together with our farmers we have initiated THE BAZAAR Agriculture Cooperative and Organic Living.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

yes

Are you are a current Unilever employee?

randomness