Nepali dish wins International Mountain Day photo and recipe contest

©FAO/Ashmita Lama 11 December 2019, Rome - Ashmita Lama from the Sinja Valley in Nepal has won the 2019 International Mountain Day photo and recipe contest organized by FAO to help promote mountain products and cultural traditions.

Lama’s recipe, “Jumla Special Kwati”, is a classic Nepalese mountain recipe made from high-altitude Jumla beans, a traditional mixture of black, red, yellow and spotted beans from the Jumla District of Nepal in the Himalayan region. The beans are an indigenous food linked to the local culture and religious festivities of the Sinja Valley – one of the most remote mountain areas in north western Nepal.

“Jumla Special Kwati” is eaten during the celebrations of the Janai Purnima festival. On this day, Newar farmers worship the frog and eat Kwati to help bring rain and good harvests, as the frog is thought to be the messenger of the god of rain.

“I can remember being a child playing in the mountains: picking wild orchids for my hair, swimming in a stream, climbing trees to pick berries,” says Lama, a value chain officer for Organic World and Fair Future, an eco-social company in Nepal and a member of UN voluntary alliance the Mountain Partnership. “What I know now, but did not then, is that mountains are the base of our livelihoods and natural heritage. I have devoted my life to working for the protection of these fresh, clean environments.”

Jumla beans also feature in the Mountain Partnership Products initiative, a certification scheme that provides technical and financial support to smallholder mountain producers from developing countries to create enterprises, enhance their marketing skills and boost their livelihoods.Over 70 entries were received from 27 countries for this year’s photo and recipe competition to mark International Mountain Day today.

During International Mountain Day, countries worldwide mark the occasion by holding conferences, treks, film festivals and poetry readings to raise awareness of how many vital services — from fresh water to energy to livelihoods — mountains provide, and the great threat to these services that is posed by climate change.

‘Mountains matter for youth’ is the theme of this year’s International Mountain Day, which encourages young people to demand that mountains and mountain peoples become central in national and international development agendas, and receive more attention, investments and tailored research.


last updated:  Wednesday, December 11, 2019