This member participated in the following discussions
Dear moderators and FSN forum members,
I would to share my understanding on the problems to utilize benefiting opportunity of PES in developing countries. I am citing some cases in Nepal but the problems can be more serious in other countries such as Africa where the cases are poorly understood, reported or shared.
Misuses of PES and making environmental systems worse
Increase capabilities of human, animals and plant species for adaptation to climate change require forest management interventions. If communities manage their forests for getting payment for carbon, the resources and institutions (rules or contracts) of REDD create barriers to make necessary changes in forest through management interventions for increasing adaptive capacity. Production of non-timber forest products and other resources essential for sustaining forestry environmental systems are heavily degraded due to introduction of wrong forestry policies in Nepal. The need of forest management operations is being urgent in most of community forests and national parks irrespective of climate change adaptation issue. Ignoring the facts some of the international agencies have introduced the REDD project in the forest areas and are creating problems to make those changes. For example, WWF allied with the USAID fund introduced REDD programme (Hariyo Ban Project) for biodiversity conservation in community forestry areas. One of the main problems of biodiversity conservation in the project command area is excessive suppression of understory species with biodiversity and its habitat importance by overstocked trees. The agencies completely ignored the problem and introduced the REDD project in the area for biodiversity conservation. The project agencies are doing other ways for the sake of showing they are contributing in biodiversity conservation. Similarly a REDD project (under Multi-stakeholder Forestry Project) has been introduced for increasing capacity of human community and forest adaptation to climate change under joint venture partnership of SDC (Swiss aid agency), FINIDA (Finish aid agency)and DEFID (UK aid agency). The growing problem of overstocking of trees in the forest and its negative effect in communities are well acknowledge in the project document but the agencies introduced REDD project by ignoring the REDD policy barriers to address the community problem. Nepal Foresters’ Association advocated for forestry management activity in the forestry programme but the funding agencies completely ignored the voice. The agencies rather bypassed the government system and implementing the project by a NGO formed by their ex-staffs. In Nepal’s condition the objective of human community and forest capacity of adaptation to climate change by REDD policy can be achieved together only at low extent. Otherwise they get tradeoffs. The research findings also proved that it exists tradeoffs between climate change adaptation and mitigation outcomes of forest management (Amato et al. 2011; and Thompson et al. 2009). Despite the scientific facts and ground realities the international agencies influential in resource management are doing other way. In fact the aid agencies are using their material and symbolic powers to make Nepali community foolish and capture the resource of poor communities to offset carbon emission produced by affulient societies.
1. Amato, A., Bradford,J., Fraver, S. & Palik, B. 2011. Forest management for mitigation and adaptation to climate change: Insights from long-term silviculture experiments. Forest Ecology and Management 262 803-816.
2. Thompson, I., Mackey, B., McNulty, S., & Mosseler, A. 2009. Forest Resilience, Biodiversity, and Climate Change. A synthesis of the biodiversity/resilience/stability relationship in forest ecosystems. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. Technical Series no. 43.
Why are not watchdogs effective in developing countries?
It requires strong institutional capacity and uninfluenced environment to work watchdog properly in society. The institutions of watchdogs are very weak in developing countries. Moreover, the watchdogs are manipulated and made dysfunction. The Federation of Community Forestry User Group Nepal (FECOFUN), for instance, is a watchdog in forestry. The body is assumed to represent the interests and act to safeguard the interests and wills of community forest users. The WWF (implement the REDD project funded by the USAID) and ICIMOD (implement the REDD project funded by NORAD) have formed business partnership with the FECOFUN to implement their REDD projects. The key leaders of the FECOFUN body are benefitted (got direct and indirect opportunities and facilities) by the project partnership so they have given little attention on the critical issues created by the REDD project. They are silent on the REDD project activities even though the project has criminalized collection and uses of green non-timber forest products, the daily need goods for living for poor people. The ICIMOD and WWF were aware of potential social problems of REDD programme. The intention of the ICIMOD and WWF to involve the FECOFUN in project implementation is to neutralize potential confrontational position of forest user groups and escape from the blame of any wrong doing. Given the nature of the REDD projects and institutional condition of the FECOFUN it is an absolutely abuse on civil society.
Reality of bad governance
International agencies argue that failure of international development support on environmental management in developing countries is due to bad governance of government. From my understanding the problem of government in developing countries is weak institution but the bad governance is the problem of international agencies which are advising wrong policies and practices for hidden interests. The government agecnies of host countries could not reject the bad policy advices or stop the inappropriate interventions of the international agencies.
Suggestion for FAO
If FAO management is really/honestly dedicated to make benefit socially disadvantaged people in developing countries and improve environmental condition it should research to find a solution to overcome the bad governance of the international agencies. There is hardly any study in this issue. This research would make more benefit in society than the research on PES that FAO presented to discuss in this forum.
Thank you for your time to read my opnions.
Bhubaneswor Dhakal, Nepal
1. Contradiction on your arguments
I do not agree on your argument that payment for environmental services (PES) is a prominence tool to provide environmental services in all places or countries. Please have a read my understanding and our findings of a study in the following sections. You have poorly recognized the possibility of tradeoffs of environmental services that can result by PES. If you want to produce a quality research report, you have to read literatures on biophysical phenomena of environmental resources and consult other people with good experience of community in developing countries. I regret to say that some opinions expressed by participants in this discussion have based on narrow assessment or dubious, and some others have no science bases. This is a common problem of people working in forest and other environment resource management field. This is one of the causes of bad outcomes of development support on forest and other environment resource management field.
2. Do you know of PES projects that have failed to deliver despite substantial donor support? If so, what were the reasons that caused the failure?
REDD is a failure PES project in Nepal for those who also value the ecosystems services other than the carbon sequestration (climate regulation). Animal and plant species of biodiversity importance exist not only in protected areas but also in community forest. Maintaining suitable habitats of the species requires diversity in the forest. Growing numbers of studies showed that the industrial and conservative models of forest management practiced by following international advices and supports have suppressed the habitats and threatened the species due to degradation of habitats. The REDD forestry project, (e.g. in the REDD project funded by NORAD and implemented by ICIMOD groups) has advised and provided payment communities to fill remaining open spaces in the forests for increasing forest carbon stock. It has worsened the habitats for the species. The conservative model of forest system also affected agro-biodiversity. Increasing forest cover has reduced dry season stream flow of water which is another concern for communities. Studies showed that reduction of access to forest and availability of non-timber forest products hampered local forestry knowledge. The reason of failure is bad governances of donor, implementer and host government agencies which introduce the project for their own benefit and little considered potential problems. It is not due to lack of information because the potential problems are well documented in literature and textbooks.
3. PES debate in literatures
Some scholars claimed that PES can be an effective mechanism to transfer wealth from rich to poor groups or non-farmers to farmers, and contribute to environment conservation and poverty alleviation or economic development. PES critics argued that the payment concept was introduced by developed countries as a policy instrument to redistribute state income to farmers, particularly to compensate for the loss of subsidies through international agricultural policy changes but the countries justified it as a policy measure for reducing environmental problems caused by industrial farming systems. However, international development agencies experimented the PES for environmental conservation and poverty alleviation in developing countries. According to the PES critics the proponents of PES argued for the sake of their own working benefit and interest. The real benefit from PES will be small or often negligible in developing countries. PES commoditised environmental services available freely to public. Developing countries have many socio-political complexities and bad governance to use opportunities of PES. The government agencies of developing countries hop up on the bandwagon of the international agencies without considering needs and problems in the countries. Then the PES further marginalizes poor people due to bad socio-political institutions and regressive financial systems. The countries have also inadequate resources for social development. Implementation of PES can cause misallocation of available budget of the countries and international sources, and increase administrative burden to the institutionally weak government agencies. It affects investment in important areas such as poverty alleviation and other social development programmes. Experimenting of PES on livelihood means of poor people is also an unethical practice as it can create humanitarian and long lasting problems.
4. Our test on the debate
We attempted to rectify the arguments. The study evaluated socioeconomic impacts of payment of six main (specified into 20 for analysis convenient) kinds of ecosystems services provided by mountain agricultural landscapes and their potential impact on the well being of women in Nepal. The study is titled “Socioeconomic impacts of PES of mountain agricultural landscapes on women”. We considered that the women are de facto custodians and manager of the resources providing ecosystem services of mountain agricultural landscapes. This study examined the impacts on the policy system model with 13 criteria. Firstly the study examined whether the resource management warrants conservation payment or other kinds of policy interventions. The study showed that only some services were threatening and warrant for some kinds of policy interventions. It is not in all places and all services as claimed by environmentalist and international organizations. PES could be one of them. The potential impacts of PES on women vary according the type of the ecosystem service and the activities that need to be performed for conservation. Provisioning only some services contribute food security otherwise they hamper food security. Interestingly, provisioning of some services make positive effect on one socioeconomic criteria (e.g. reduce work burden and ill health) and negative effect on others (e.g. food insecurity). Bad governance is the main problem to take advantages the opportunities of benefiting from the services.
5. How bad are bad national and international governances?
I would like to present the bad governance cases of PES in next posting. It may embarrass many readers particularly to those involved in environment conservation, international organizations and PES field.
Ways of life of people and environmental systems in many developing countries are sustained in complex relationship of many informal institutions. It requires scholarly inputs with broad visioning, constructive thinking and high precaution to evaluate and work on new development institutions including PES in the developing countries.
Dear moderators and other members
In my last posting I sent a wrong note which had some typo mistakes, inconsistent sentences and incomplete lines. I would like to correct and complete them. Firstly I would like to clarify that using ideas of this forum in conference papers by acknowledging sources is not unethical practice. I am also not challenging the jobs of people in high profile organizations. I am sharing my experiences and understanding that current forest policies and practices at both national and international levels are focused on benefiting affluent societies and elite classes which have harmed local food security and economic activities and marginalized forest based communities and other socially disadvantaged people in developing countries. I pointed international polices and agencies because they have very high influences on determining national policies of forest management and food security in developing countries particularly with weak institutions and bad governance.
1. How do forests contributes food security in developing countries?
Many participants focused on direct contribution of forest on food security and nutrition. Forests also contribute to food security indirectly. Traditionally, many varieties of local vegetables, herbs, spices and other food crops and animal breeds were evolved and sustained on the forest resources based compost such as in Nepal. Some varieties are chemical fertilizer intolerant. The varieties and animals breeds are adaptable to marginal lands and still importance means of food security socially disadvantaged people. Access to products and services of common or public forests are also required for sustaining transhumance livestock practices and utilization of alpine pasture. The resources are important means of food security of people in remote areas and mountain region. Community forests under the international interventions are managed to increase wood supplies to urban users and offset carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies which institutionally locked opportunities of multipurpose uses of forest. Decreasing multipurpose management of forest has reduced local people's visits to forest and diversified product availabilities. It has greatly contributed to eroding local knowledge and practices. The water sources of many communities are springs. People have experienced decreasing of dry season spring water flow in Nepal as forest cover increases in the catchments. International interventions on forest policies in developing countries have hampered the indirect contribution to food security.
2. What is needed for food security policies and strategies to recognize the contributions and value that forests and trees bring?
As I stated in my last posting that the problems are very pervasive and complex to exploit the opportunities that forest and trees contributes on food security and nutrition. International funding practices, working behavior of working in forestry field (national and international levels), changes in national and international forest policies and forestry educational systems are increasingly going against forest management for food security and forest based people. Private land areas of many households are not enough to produce forest or trees for food security. Community forest and public forest resources are means to complement private resources and contribute to food security in the forest based communities. This has received very little recognition from influential agencies or people. Even the facilitators have not recognized these problems in the concept note distributed in this forum for discussion.
3. A question for the facilitators
I would like to ask the facilitators what motivated FAO to work on forest management for food security. FAO policies and working histories are very controversial on this subject. For example, FAO was one of the leading agencies to advise and support Nepal government for reducing forest resource based livestock holding (a principle means of food security) of Nepalese farmers (please read preface of Nepal’s Forestry Sector Master Plan 1988). FAO has also policies to support REDD programme in developing countries. If you work to promote forest management for food security, the policy will conflict with international forest policy other influential donors such as UK, Norway, US, Germany and Australia which reaffirmed their commitment of continuous funding and supports to achieve REDD objectives in developing countries beyond 2012. The forest managed for REDD cannot contribute on food security. The donor agencies are interested to reduce livestock holding of developing countries as I showed evidences in India and Nepal. I request facilitators how the FAO address the conflicts if you like to change. Are you raising the agenda just for formality and show an accomplishment of an activity in your progress report?
4. The problem of international forestry management policy: A kaleidoscopic case
The problem of international forestry management policy is a kaleidoscopic case that can be explained by multiple schools of thought. Some schools of thought are as follow.
a) Proponents of the western hegemony school of thought argue that international policies and practices are founded on the western world’s institutions, values, social preferences and practices which are routed through the place of organizational origin (in the case of INGOs), main source of funding, languages, people’s expertise and pro-western preference in influential job positions. Most of western values and practices are incompatible with conditions and needs of forest based communities in developing countries and in many cases environmentally unsustainable or unfriendly. The practices and values of western world are propagated and imposed through international forums and agencies. The values, ideas and practices of the non- western world are filtered or suppressed. The pervasiveness of the western hegemony has made national professionals powerless to understand and protect the quality of local institutions and practices and real needs of disadvantaged citizen. Therefore forestry resources traditionally used in achieving food security is hampered by increasing western influences on forest management in developing countries.
b) Scholars of the institutional school of thought argue that the community unfriendly activities and marginalization are outcomes of bad governance of government agencies of host countries. The government of institutionally weak and bad governance gets easily influenced by vested interest international agencies or governments, and imposes forest policies and practices for the benefit and interest of the international agencies or governments. The policies and practices hamper forestry contribution on food security and marginalize poor people.
c) The proponents of the behavioral school of thought argue that people working in forest and environmental field have been too conservative and narrowly focused by education, professionalization and working practices. They have lost their thinking ability and judgmental capacity in socioeconomic needs and broader environmental problems. The wrong doings of the conservative people have been unchallenged by other professional groups, civil societies and intellectuals due to technically complex field. Forest based and poor people have been victim of the wild behavior of the people working in forestry and environmental field.
d) Proponents of the neocolonial school of thought argue that developed countries, purposely and strategically introduced forestry institutions and management practices to lock the land resources used in food production and destroy livestock farming in developing countries. The restriction on land uses of developing countries increases future market value of agricultural products for developed countries which hold vastly privatized lands and well developed technologies. This can help to influence world policy by controlling food. The controls on the use of forests and the production of livestock in the poor communities also reduce global greenhouse gas emission, which would relieve the pressure on emission intensive businesses in developed countries.
e) The argument of proponents of the gangster school of thought differs from the proponents of the neocolonial school of thought. According to the gang school of thought, an influential ‘gang’ of business people (often termed think tanks, experts and consultants) have socially tactically constructed forest policies and values in the world and sold to influential political actors including governments in developed countries who are desperate of tactical ideas and policy solutions to cool down public outcry for environmental management in home, and keep their symbolic and political existence in overseas. The gang developed the idea to maximize their benefit and did not care who loss and impact in societies. Similar behavioral business groups also are existed at regional and national levels. They have propagated the practices and ideas of the master mind gang and are paid by developed countries. Other people hopped on their bandwagon. The forest are managed poor communities became victim of the working policy of the business groups.
5. Summary international forestry development support is a “Naked Emperor’s” story
Forests used by communities in developing countries are considered inefficiently managed and environmentally degraded, and that international policies, payment and development supports would improve the products and services from the forests, benefit local people and contribute on holistic environmental sustainability. International measures are increased to manage the forests and achieved the objectives. This study used secondary sources of information and the coupled social-ecological system theory, and critically analyzed local issues of international policies and supports on community forest and climate change forest management in Nepal. It showed that the forest management interventions institutionally locked opportunities of multipurpose uses of forest, worsened water yield and local knowledge, and hampered local economic activities. The interventions influenced the host country’s policies and forestry practices which spoiled indigenous forestry systems evolved and practiced over hundreds of years and reduced local food security. The management also reduced habitat diversities for forest based species and resource supplies for sustaining agro-biodiversities. Local people are used to manage forests in the name of community participation but they are oppressed and institutionally and economically marginalized. Some of the forestry systems established by the external interventions are turned too costly to change and will remain affecting local communities and environmental systems and benefiting distance users for long term. It can be best termed a green grabbing of local forestry resources.
Dear Moderators and members of the FSN
Forest contribution to food security and nutrition and problems depends on socioeconomic condition and culture. I am especially interested to contribute on the issue of food security associated international policy and support on common property forest. It is similar to Mr Champak arguments that how international agencies rob forest based people for their own benefit and elite class of their interest. Regarding using the idea of this forum in the conference some people take idea from others and sell to others as this is his or her creation. It is unethical practice but if they acknowledge the source, I believe it is unethical. There are hundreds cases of deceiving and robbing of poor forest based communities by international agencies by using symbolic and material powers and elites.
1. Evidences of robbing of forest based people by international agencies
Case One: I would share a REDD project case in the Khasi tribal community, a socially vulnerable ethnic group in Meghalaya India, in support of Mr Champak argument. It has been planned and practiced to replace local fodder based livestock (cattle) system by imported grain based livestock (poultry and pig) system in the communities (Project Idea Note, 2011). According to the REDD project agreement the community must comply that “Cattle if reared, should be of superior breed and stall-fed with cattle feed procured from outside” (Project Idea Note P. 16). The REDD is an international policy and is still under a pilot phase. The tribal community has eighty-five percent land areas under forest. Its private landholding size is average 0.25 ha per household which is insufficient to produce enough food for family consumption alone. The REDD project is advised and prepared by Community Forestry International (a California based INGO), funded by the USAID and certified by Plan Vivo Foundation (a Scottish-based INGO). The farming offsetting carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies. If you read Vickers et al. (2012) document produced by FAO and RECOFT, the REDD project is considered innovation and indirectly advised for adoption of the model. From my knowledge of indigenous community and Nepal, the change of the forestry and farming systems will have a big long lasting social and environmental effect. It is very seriously bad advice and support. The intervention on the farming and forestry systems are done to offset carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies. If the policy experiment with that degree of social risk had been done with vulnerable groups in developed countries, there would be considered it a serious issue (a social crime) and make a very big public outcry. However, the unethical practice (a social crime) has been internationally supported and highlighted as an innovation in developing countries by the international organizations. From my understanding the communal forest management for multipurpose uses would benefit environment and societies. In contrast the external agencies are to buy means of livelihoods of poor communities for offsetting carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies, and are challenging the vulnerable lives and livelihoods of indigenous people and other forest-based communities.
Project Idea Note. 2011. Project Idea Note for the Umiam Sub-watershed REDD+ Project. East Khasi Hills District Meghalaya, India. Plan Vivo. http://www.planvivo.org/wp-content/uploads/Khasi-Hills-Community-REDD-ProjectIdeanote-May13EM.pdf
Vicker, B. Trines, E. and Pohnan, E. 2012. Community Guidelines for Assessing Forestry Volunteer Carbon Market. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and The Pacific. Bangkok.
Case Two: Uses green forest products in the some Nepali community forests experimented for REDD policy, are restricted and criminalized for offsetting carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies. These products and services of the forests are daily need basic goods of poor people barely sustaining their lives. You can see the problems in the forests experimented REDD policy by ICIMOD and funded by NORAD. Elites from national policy and community level are paid to criminalise the practices of forest products uses by the poor people. International agencies for example, ICIMOD casider the work as an innovation (please read the article by Karky et al (2012). From my assessment international interventions on the mountain forest management has been destroying social-ecological systems evolved and sustained in hundreds years of mountain civilization. Based on my study Nepalese civil societies and forest based poor communities are abused. There are many problems which are not possible to share here.
BS; Karki, S; Rana, EB; Kotru, R. 2013. ‘Innovative interventions in Nepal for implementing REDD+ at the community level. In Aneel, SS; Haroon, UT; Niazi, I (eds) . Redefining paradigms of sustainable development in south Asia, pp 215-236. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications
If some people point the bad activities of the international agencies and voice in favour of poor people, they will be filtered from participating in different professional events or forums and excluded from jobs. Those people who brings ideas to deceive and rob people they will be rewarded. This is tradition of all people at management level of all international organizations including FAO.
What are the key challenges and bottlenecks hindering a greater contribution of forests, trees on farms and agroforestry systems to food security?
The factors hindering a greater contribution of forests to food security are deeply seated in institutions, more serious than gender discrimination problem. For example, the people in influential decision making position of national and international organizations consider that the forest should be used for timber production and environmental conservation and mostly to benefit for distance users -urban elites and affluent societies. It should be used only residual (often termed waste) products for food security for local people. It is also seen advice given by international agencies to Nepal. It is also clearly reflected in the discussion concept note distributed for this forum by the moderators. People working in forestry field are too much conservative and biased against poor people and indigenous communities.
· What are some concrete examples of innovative approaches, or good practices that increase the contributions of forests and trees to food security and nutrition goals?
It is indigenous systems of forest management for multipurpose uses which produce resources for food security and a good habitat for biodiversity conservation. It is well proven but international agencies advised Nepal government that these are bad forestry practices. The agencies advised to follow industrial forestry practices (please refer Forestry Sector Master Plan 1988). Nowadays the international agencies funded and advised to restrict the forestr products uses and mange the forestr for strict conservation model to offset carbon emission of affluent societies. The forestry model
Making Investments Work for Nutrition
The following contribution is based on my understanding that the food security (adequate calorie), nutrition (nutritionally balance diet) and safe food (from health and mental/cultural prospective) are different issues of food policy. This discussion is focused on the second one.
Q 1. If you were to advise a director of planning for agriculture, what would you suggest as the most important things to consider in order to make investments work for nutrition?
A. From my understanding and experience the most important thing to consider in order to make the investment work for nutrition is adequate understanding of ROOT CAUSES or SOURCES of nutritional problem. The problems can result from different sources:
- • Insufficient means (income to afford or land to produce) nutritional food.
- • Lack of access to nutritional food despite some means to buy.
- • Inadequate knowledge on nutritional requirements for particular health condition.
- • Inadequate knowledge on nutritional availability in locally and regularly available food.
- • Cultural problem in diet (cultural barrier to change diet or access the nutritional diet).
- • Personal behavior (taste preference, unable to manage or laziness).
Many Nepali farmers can produce sufficient vegetable in their land but insufficient consumption of vegetable is still a common nutritional problem. Generally people eat vegetable related products to make tasty/appealing of main staple food. They hardly know the quantity of vegetable they need in their diet to make their diet adequately nutritional. In such situation investment in awareness creation and extension/education should be done first and then investment to enhance nutritional production.
B. It requires development of institutionalized systems to make investment work for nutrition. If the work focuses to showing results quickly and caring little for ground reality and longer term problems similar to the work of international donor funded projects its effect might be temporarily. Printing the nutritional promotion slogans in vests or other clothes can give flash solution and may work temporarily similar to the development of international donor advised and funded projects. It is not a reliable and long lasting solution.
C. Local agroclimatic conditions, institutions and farming systems are other factors important to be considered to make the investment work for nutrition.
Q . 2. What gaps do you see in research to deliver effective results for nutrition?
Rural socioeconomic situations, institutions, farming systems, agro-ecological conditions and other causes of nutritional problems, the important determinants for nutritional food production, are changing over time. The changes of them vary with place or communities. In most of the nutritional problems countries or regions the problems and opportunities associated with the factors are interpreted and explained either based on values or opinions of powerful people (mostly expatriates or consultants of international donor agencies) or based on poor quality information. There are no quality studies or information to understand the problems and opportunities associated with the determinants, and deliver effective results for nutrition.
Q.3. How can institutions work together at country level to deliver effective results for nutrition?
Institutions are varying in resource holding for research investment, capacity of working, position of providing ground level information and ability to influence in policy or public decisions. If the institutions work forming partnership considering their strength to make effect in all important areas they deliver effective results for nutrition. However, international institutions do not work usually in this manner. I would like to share current case of Asian Development Bank (ADB). The bank assured Nepal government to support development of national agricultural plan. Then it developed a plan for the country using its consultants without discussing with stakeholders and government officials. It is very surprising how the foreign consultant know the current agricultural related problems and prospect in Nepal where socio-institutions are undergoing rapid changes. Stakeholders and government officials have put strongly objection on this practice the ADB has been behaving imperiously and responding hardly to them. How the national agricultural plan developed in universal planning template of ADB can work to deliver effective results for nutrition in Nepal which has a great variation of socioeconomic and agro-ecological condition across the country. I would like to cite an old case of the bank which advised Nepal government to reduce livestock of poor farmers while developing forestry sector master plan 1988. The government followed the plan and poor farmers and particularly remote communities have been main victim of the bad advice. The ADB consultants who had little knowledge of reality of Nepali farming conditions, had greatly guided the plan development.
The international institutions similar to ADB (e.g. the World Bank and IMF) commonly behaves domineeringly to institutionally weak countries despite the management of the agencies know their behaviors are professionally illegal. The government officials of developing countries cannot strongly object the illegal actions of the materially and symbolically powerful agencies to maintain working relationship. Inviting management representatives of those agencies to participate in this and discussing their bad official manners/ practices would make some contribution to delivering effective results for nutrition. I request current moderator to invite them and continue discussion on their counterproductive institutional practices.
Thanks for reading my opinions.
Dear Moderator and members in FSN Forum,
Cooperative and Digital Divides in Nepal’s Rural Communities
Evidence shows that some farmers take advantage of digital technology through cooperative. Many Nepalese commercial vegetable farmers have formed cooperative. Some cooperative representatives live in Kathmandu and sell the products sent by farmers from countryside. They also sent instant market price information to farmers on mobile. Based on the information farmers decide whether to harvest their vegetable on the day or wait for a few days. The information also helps them whether sell the product to local brokers or send to Kathmandu. Some farmers used mobile to call cooperative manager and ask availability of fertilizers. Greater number of farmers depends on radio based information of market prices. Some of cooperatives representative put some information in internet and access to members only. Internet based information are used only by brokers and a few rich commercial farmers.
Some farmers do not want to be members in cooperative. When the agricultural inputs are shortage in the market the cooperative often do not sale the inputs to non-members. These evidences indicate there is cooperative as well as digital divide in farming communities. A good extension and training supports to farmers would reduce the digital technology divide and help to utilised potential benefits of cooperative and digital technologies. It is interesting that the people managing extension division and field workers know little about the problem of digital divide and areas for interventions.
Dear Participants and moderator of the FSN Forum,
Innovative finance, traditional finance and regressive finance:
1. I got confusion about the term of innovative finance used on this
cycle of discussion. From my understanding the innovative finance is a new
or creative approach which makes positive change in society and benefits
mostly to socially disadvantaged group. However, the discussion is mostly
oriented on traditional financial sources: remitances, community fund etc.
Based on my experience community people collect money from households
and various other community activities and use it in developing, improving, or
maintaining common resources such as irrigation canals. So does the
remittance for buying land, agricultural equipments and other inputs. Many
communities are practicing them from history. In some areas the practice
might have started recently. Is this an innovative finance or traditional
finance? Do place/ community and time matter to be a investment mechanism
as an innovative finance?
In Nepal a few community forest user groups have used some community
forestry income mostly generated from timber sale to help poor households
to invest in livestock. IFAD also provides similar type of support in
collaboration with government. The income from REDD programme, the payment
for environmental services of forestry is also considered new financing
systems for rural development. The programmes are destroying many community
systems which were sustainable and fair in society. International aid
agencies, professional elite and NGOs claimed in their reports that these
are innovative finance and worth of expanding in other communities. However
the households and particularly the poor ones, had got much more benefits
when they had easy access to non-timber products and services in
traditional forest management systems. The benefit the households got from
previous regime was on kinds and the new regime provided the benefit in
cash form. The net benefit is negative in society and poor households have
suffered most. Can any financial development expert explain me whether
it is an innovative finance or regressive finance? From my understanding
it is vested interest group constructed concept of innovative finance and
the reality is the other side.
I see similar problems on the innovative finance which is intended to
explore in this discussion forum. The people working in finance are smart
and put old wine into new bottle and sale to society as a new product.
2. If anybody has innovative finance its target should be in the
neglected and high impact areas. This is generally the areas where the
funding from government and other common financing sources are not
institutionalized. The problems areas are not universal in characteristics
but specific to community and country.
Thanks for your reading time and interest.