This member contributed to:
Ongoing global changes can make unprecedented alterations in the state of some natural resources and their ecosystems services (ESs), especially in mountain agricultural landscapes. Considering the risk suggested by the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, this study collected descriptive (qualitative) data in 14 Nepalese mountain farming communities through field observation, group discussion, and personal interview, and investigated changing conditions of ESs of various natural resources in agricultural landscapes and their repercussions on mountain communities. The results showed that global changes induced new resources and institutions for mountain farming practices and altered important socioecological processes determining ESs.
They have contributed to reductions in natural hazards and climate change and improvements in recreational and waste management services in mountain farming landscapes. Biodiversity status changes of the external factors in the agricultural landscapes are mixed: reasonably enriched plant species diversity and wildlife habitat, and seriously degraded or extinct indigenous species and genetic diversity. One of the serious negative changes is they have contributed to extinction of locally adaptable natural capitals and community heritages that had been developed through century-long socioecological processes and passed through extreme climatic variabilities and other environmental stresses at numerous times. The study determined that some recently emerging local biotic conditions result mainly from changes in the condition of water resources, not from changes in climatic conditions.
The external factors also hampered human input into soil formation in degraded lands, soil quality, soil-water conservation and local knowledge systems. Overall, the effects of the changes found mixed on human and environment health. This multiple natural resources-based study has contested some arguments and conclusions of popular literatures.
Many socioeconomic and environmental factors in those countries are both opportunities and barriers to address poverty and climate change problems.
The communal landownership in the small islands countries in the Pacific region, for example, make easier to distribute the lands for food production to needy people but the ownership has discouraged the people for economically productive uses.
These people of the countries are likely to be seriously suffered if extreme natural disasters and global political crises coincidently overlaps or happened together. These countries cannot avoid the cyclones due to geophysical positioning. They need diversification in food and economic business to survive in serious humanitarian crises and take economic benefit in market based business in harmonious international environment.
Unfortunately, international agencies have influenced on the values and behaviors of community leaders and policies of government agencies and used the lands under tree planation for making high benefit (offsetting carbon) to distant users.
If indigenous agroforestry system was integrated in the plantation, it would alleviate food and nutritional problem. The trees would reduce damage of cyclones in indigenous food system. Vested interest foreign people have strategically influenced to the community leaders and government agencies.
If FAO is committed to help those countries, its management requires identifying the vested interest people and ethically discourage their inappropriate interventions.
Rural migration, agriculture and rural developmentConsultation-
I saw considerable weaknesses in your outlined report. The report would be more interesting to the targeted readers if you provided compelling pieces of evidence. I would like to point two issues.
- Pull factors of the rural immigration are poorly accounted. I partially agree your statement that the migration trend reverses once socioeconomic conditions improve in the rural areas. In some cases, people return in the areas in status quo condition. Based on my experiences in Nepal, some people from cities or aboard return to rural communities once they retire from their jobs. Migration from one rural area to another rural area is another case. Some people cannot manage satisfactory living of their families in urban areas, aboard or other migrated area. In that condition too, they return to their original communities where they can do at least by their social capital.
- I would like to remind you that many agro-biodiversities are outcomes of socio-ecological processes which requires inputs of the human. Rural out-migration has a big adverse impact on degraded of regional agro-biodiversities especially to those developed by socioecological processes. This case is very serious in remote mountain areas in Nepal.
Dear FSN members and moderator
I hope this posting clarifies meaning and problems of “Exotic Poisoning” in agri-ecologies of pulses crops and address your curiosities. Exotic poisoning has affected farmers many ways. Three categories of them are explained here.
Most small and subsistent farmers in developing societies follow mixed, intercropping, relay cropping and terrace edge cropping practices of pulses major crops. Rice, maize, millet and wheat crops are major crop in Nepal. Traditionally most pulse crop species could sustain in poor soil. Organic matter based mycorrhiza played crucial roles in the success of the crop species and varieties. Nowadays, farmers have practiced inorganic fertilizer to take high yield advantage of exotic varieties of the major crops. The major crops are chemical input responsive or demand high doses of the inorganic fertilizer and different growth stages. Crop research and community support agencies have strategically displaced the organic input based varieties. They have done little work to improve productivity of the varieties and make competitive to inorganic fertilizer and other input based varieties. Some pulse crop varieties and mycorrhiza evolve naturally and become endemic to certain ecological pocket. Application of the inorganic fertilizer in higher dose has destroyed the organic matter based mycorrhiza which has led to crop failure of indigenous varieties and hamper the traditional cropping systems. Farmers have not easy availability of or access to improved varieties of all crop species suitable in mountain regions with diverse agro-ecologies. Some of the farmers want to grow landraces for cultural, medical and taste reasons. Therefore, the promotion of chemical input responsive varieties of major crops and inorganic fertilizer poisoned agro-ecologies of some pulses crop varieties and resulted crop failure.
The opportunity of evolving genetic properties to be adaptive or become endemic in particular ecological pocket areas has been destroyed by introduction of exotic varieties and practicing frequent replacement of seeds from external sources. It is not a right forum to discuss detail about it but loss of the opportunity is very critical issue for environmental, socially and economically vulnerable communities and mountain region.
Introduction of exotic varieties bring exotic pests which destroy ecological condition to sustain landraces. Considering growing behaviours the problem is most likely have occurred in pulses crops. But it is obvious in species such as vegetable crops. For example, development agencies (government and NGOs) introduced exotic early varieties of cucumber in rural communities without detail risk assessment from agro-ecological perspective. The varieties brought a pest seriously nasty for landraces. Now the pest wiped highly prolific and high yielding local varieties growing conventional season (July to November). The economic and social cost of from loss of the landraces is incomparable to with the benefit of the exotic varieties. Many communities are economically, socially (health perspective) and culturally suffering. The problem bring agencies have ignored the problem. Some critics often argued that foreign agencies strategically introduced this problem to destroy local varieties and create market for their seed.
Cross breeding of exotic varieties with genetically superior landraces can be described as a category of exotic poisoning.
Multipurpose benefits of pulses were understood from ancient times. My point is a bit different from your problem. You might have heard that farmers in developing countries grow pulses species as inter-cropping, mixed cropping or relay-cropping with cereal and other crops. Inputs and other management practices affect production of other crops in such systems. Nowadays many Nepali farmers have experienced failure of some legume crops in their farm. Based on discussion with the farmers the problem is caused by exotic poisoning of agro-ecological systems. The local varieties used to thriving in soil with poor fertility have been disappeared. These problems cannot be understood by working on the computer of head quarter or visiting rural areas as a development tourist. The problem is not limited to the pulses species. If anybody wants to know details please visit farms, experience the real life problems and discuss with the farmers. However, research, development support and policy advising agencies have been strategically imposing the varieties and other practices those they developed and valued. They have little cared or ignored how they spoiled adaptive systems and made farmers vulnerable. Developing high yielding varieties may not necessarily increase consumption of poor people though it can increase profit to large farmers and commercial growers. I suggest you to work first for addressing the problems instead of doing new propaganda.
Based on my family experiences, changing dietary systems and availability of alternatives have reduced consumption of pulses. When our family had low level of green vegetables specially in dry seasons (January to June) our parents used to cook sprout of soybean and other beans in addition to a soup (Daal) of pulses. The consumption of sprout item has been dramatically decreased with increasing availability and access of fresh vegetables. Consumption of some amount of pulses specially in the form of soup with rice is common practices in Nepal. Roasted soybean or peas with pupped corn was supplementary item in snacks. The trend of consuming popped corn is decreased. The people migrated in overseas have also started eating rice one time in a day. Therefore pulses consumption practices of Nepali people are decreased. The change might have some negative effect on vegeterian's health. Development of new cooked products fitted well in changing dietary systems might increase the level of consumption of the pulses.
Many thanks for reading my comments and suggestions.
I have the following comments on draft report of FAO voluntary guidelines on national monitoring that you call comments on FSN Forum
- A substantial level of forest inventory work is required for preparing country report for Global Forest Resources Assessmnet Report. FAO prepares the report. The draft report of FAO voluntary guidelines on national monitoring has not stated the difference in information between the reports. I believe most of the information will be same. I request moderator to clarify the differences and provide supplementary information in this discussion. Does FAO hold hidden interest to separate the project activities?
- I read the draft report. I felt that many suggestions are general and presented in vague language. This level of information are already available to the monitoring bodies of most countries. If you present in this form the guidelines they make little contribution in institutional capacity building. Your effort and money used in preparing this guidelines will be wasted.
- Based on the reading of the draft guideline document has focused on wood, carbon and total biomass. If status information of all kinds of forest products (e.g. firewood and fodder) and successions are specified in the inventory report they will be much useful to make forest management decision at both local and national levels. The information, for example, helps to make decisions on improving forest management for biodiversity conservation. They would also help to understand stocks and dynamics of various products available to support livelihoods of local people. If the FAO had genuine interest to collect the useful product specific information the national monitory guidelines had clear instruction. But the draft guideline document has provided detail instructions for little important things but not given attention on the useful things.
- Need of indigenous people is a complicated and sensitive subject and ordinary people cannot adequately deal with them. Forest resources are means of food, nutrition, medicines, antibiotics and cultural existance of the people. Speacilised inputs are vital to explain the relationship between various forest products and existence of indigenous people. Forestry inventory workers cannot deal with the complex and sensetive issue. Based on my experience on forestry development work in Nepal, they manipulate the leaders of indigenous people by various means and make interpretation of the value of the resources in own value and interest. The work of foresters are rather exacerbated by declining of indigenous popluation with extinction threat. It can be said that the forest development policy is doing genocide of indigenous people. Therefore, there should be very clear guidelines to address the needs of the people.
- The word “manpower” is discriminatory from gender perspective. I would use the term “humanpower” instead.
Thanks for providing the opportunity of commenting on your work.
Dear Moderator and other members of FSN forum
I am not making contribution on the main issues that you asked here. But I would like to comment on the FAO and UNEP memorandum on sustainable food system issue including stack taking. I want to know why UNEP involved in food security program? What is the UNEP global mandate? Has it accomplished well? Has it effectively addressed food security issues affected by its programmes or globally given mandate. In my understanding the programmes under UNEP has misleading many poor people and worsen food security in the world. If the management of the agency need I can provide enough evidences. If the UNEP management were professionally or ethically serious on food security and poor people's issues they should do their job first. If any agency does not work seriously in the areas of responsibility how they provide good service in other areas? I doubt that the involvement of the UNEP make difference on food security. It might make worse. I expect response from the UNEP representative. I would also like to know response from FAO representative through this forum that why the collaboration with the UNEP is needed.
FSN members, it is your person right and will whether or not contribute in this discussion. But if we blindly (without constructively thinking about ) participate or support any initiatives that can encourage bad practices of globally powerful agencies in the world. Your constructive comments or feedback can often make the agencies sincere on working issue and your contribute benefit poor people or public.
Dear FNS Forum team members,
First learn from the practices of colleagues in your organization(FAO)
I would like to advise your team to learn from the practices of your FAO colleagues if you want to understand the degree to which the FSN information produced is actually used by decision makers, and influences policy making. I believe the information would be useful to many FAO staffs who have very low level of knowledge about many problems in developing countries but have been working as experts to prepare many policy reports about the countries. I read many policy guideline documents prepared by FAO staffs and most postings on the FSN Forum. The information shared in the forum were very useful to make the policy documents practical and useful but the information are poorly used. For instance, some members in the FSN explained the nutritional issue of the indigenous people as a critical agenda but the FAO staffs ignored the vital issue when preparing on the zero draft of the Framework for Action (FFA). FAO members are supposed to adopt the information and demonstrate to others that the information are useful. If the FAO staffs do little trust and follow the information of the FSN forum what do you expect from others?
One problem to be the information or Knowledge actually used in policy making processes.
If policy decision makers requires to prepare policy documents themselves they would explore interesting issues, experiences and other information. But in some countries, consultants of funding agencies, particularly institutionally weak aid dependent countries (e.g.Nepal), prepare most of the documents and send to the decision makers on email or by curriers. The decision makers require to read and sign the documents but do little exercise. The consultants work with personal relationship with staffs of the funding agencies, and do little value and read the information shared in the FSN forum. These are the reasons the policy documents of funding agencies supported agencies find highly formal but impractical.
Thanks for reading my responses on your queries.
Dear Moderator and other members in FSN team
A general comment: A racial document
A fair policy document gives high focus (special acknowledgement of issues and action plans) on the problem of disadvantaged groups. In terms of nutritional requirement, indigenous ethnic groups are special need groups globally- in both developed and developing countries. This has been proven in experimental and social researches. There are low priorities in policy and research for increasing nutritional resources of the groups at national and international levels. The food sources of the groups are encroached, destroyed or criminalised in uses to benefit power groups. Even FAO has the regressive programmes in the communities of the ethnic groups such as in Congo. However, this draft document has not acknowledged the nutritional issues of special need groups. It has focused on the issue of mainstream society. Based on the facts this document can be termed racial.
Dear members of Right to Food Team and FSN forum
I have some insights on the Right to Food issue. I would like to share the insights with you in response to some questions asked by the Right to Food Team.
Right to Food Guidelines and Increasing Threat of Extinction of Some Human Races
1. Implementation success of the Right to Food Guidelines: A dilemma
Understanding the success of the Right to food guidelines is a complex subject. Literatures provide evidences that governments of many countries started working to increase food production since mid1900s. The policy is based on a dual principle: the state responsibility and people’s right. Many factors have been driving them to act on it. The governments also signed many international treaties related to human rights before introducing the Right to Food Guidelines by FAO council. Many principles or terms of the treaties require addressing basic needs including food. Other socioeconomic changes not targeted directly on the food issue are also contributing people access to food despite weak or counterproductive national policies on increasing food. For example in Nepal, the lands used in food production are increasingly used in non-agricultural activities in many areas, even critically food deficit areas. The national and international policies (e.g. protected area management and global carbon emission offsetting) have been hampering the land uses in food production. Consequently indigenous food production systems and environment have been spoiled. Abandonment of private lands from farming is increasing in many districts. Agricultural productivity is increasingly very slowly. Statistics show the increasing of agricultural products imports are exponential in trends. Based on these evidences the food production in the country may have decreased. Statistical figures of government agencies, manipulated for some reasons, however, may not support the argument. However, people’s access to food is increasing. Their access to food increased mainly by increasing remittances, local income opportunities, and transportation and market services. It is very difficult to argue that the Right to Food Guidelines created the favourable environments. However, the situation would be worse if the state and funding agencies had not have supported in increasing agricultural productivities.
The important of right to food is still there. Some people are still passively accepting misery and seasonal starvation. Food crises problem is frequently experienced in some districts. Moreover the import dependent country has some degree of risk of resulting humanitarian food crises because there is a probability of out-breaking and persisting a serious level of international political and economic crisis for long period. Government cannot handle the technical and social complexities building up with ongoing changes in societies, and secure the people’s right to adequate food to that condition. It may not be wise thinking to expect effective international support in deep international crises conditions. Despite some room, I have not seen any specific policy measures from both state and supporting actors to address the long term issue of right to food as suggested in the Right to food Guidelines.
Were you disappointed?
I have seen a very disappointing case. You claimed that both state and international agencies including FAO have shown commitment in achieving people’s right to food but I have seen that they are also destroying the food sources and threatening existence of some powerless ethnic groups for the benefit of affluent people. I would like to present the case of hunter gatherers (often termed tribal groups) related ethnic groups who have adapted and lived on naturally produced food with high fiber, low fat and carbohydrates, and rich in mineral (e.g. iron, zinc, calcium and potassium) elements. They have much shorter period of exposure to the foods with high energy and intensive or commercial production systems than that of many other sedentary societies. As a result they are intolerant in some or addictive to some other foods produced in intensive agricultural system and industrial processing. According to evolutionary genetic theory, some genes of the indigenous ethnic groups store food energy for longer period than the genes of nontribal and or other sedentary societies. The people carrying the genetic property become able to adapt and survive in food scarcity condition and other environmental stresses. The genes on the other hand increase obesity and related disease to the group in high energy food condition. The nutritional deficiency problem has made the health condition of the tribal people worse. Same quantity of energy food can result obesity in tribal groups than non-tribal groups. The genes The phenomena is a strong explanation to be higher prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes cases in the indigenous groups than other ethnicities in developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The indigenous groups seems to be addicted on the high energy foods. Most probably they have deficiency of the nutritional elements to meet their body needs. Official statistics show that the difference of average lifespan between the indigenous and non-indigenous people living in same political zone and facilities is noticeably high such as over 10 years in Australia (ABS 2009). In essence the indigenous human races are special need groups in terms of nutritional requirement.
The nutritional need condition of the hunter gatherers are further difference than the indigenous groups in the developed countries. They have not passed their forest based life even one generation. Their natural food sources have been now managed to meet interests and needs of non-tribal groups who are used to eating high energy foods over 12000 years. The food resources of the forest based people are suppressed or destroyed. Some resources are criminalized in uses. As a result they are facing food shortage in their territories. Inadequate access to naturally grown food has caused them to depend on high energy, processed and input intensive foods including chemical/pesticide contaminated ones. Any payment given to the vulnerable groups is not sufficient to afford healthy food. They are depended on poor quality food which are not safe from their health perspective. The policies of the agencies, thus, have forced to live the fresh water fish (the tribal groups) into salt water. The new foods (even some grain) toxicats their health and the under-nutrition further weakens their immune system. Consequently their susceptible to many diseases increased and ability to cope environmental stresses in their natural/ poor living condition decreased. The food problems have adverse health effect particularly on conceiving of women, healthy borne of baby and survival of the people to the age of reproduction and full potential life period. As a result their population growth has been potentially stagnated to declined leading to extinction.
For example, ten indigenous ethnic groups are reported at threat of extinction based on their dwindling growth and smaller size of population. The ethnic groups include Raji, Kusunda, Raute, Kushbadiya, Bankariya, Suri, Kisan, Meche, Lepcha and Hayu. They are the most powerless people in socio-political system. Some of them (e.g. Raute, Kusunda, and Bankariya) are still inhabited in forest. They shun farming and live mainly on wild foods including tubers. The other groups have also meagre of private land. There are also some other recently nomadic ethnic groups such as Chepang. All the resource poor groups used to complement the private land resources by common property resources including forest and community pasturelands to sustain their livelihoods. Therefore these ethnic communities have been demanding with government for greater and secured access to their local forest resources. Please read details of the ethnic groups and their relationships with forest in the following references.
a. People in Nepal. http://www.bochi-bochitrek.com/nepal/people-in-nepal.html. Downloaded on 13-07-2014.
b. B The Local Environmental, Economic and Social Tragedies of Managing Community Forests for Global Environment Conservation: A Critical Evaluation. The Open Journal of Forestry. 4(1):58-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojf.2014.41010
Their food resources are non-timber products of forests which are encroached and destroyed by mainstream societies. International interventions on national forest policies further worsened the supplies. They advised and funded for industrial model of forestry which suppressed or occupied the places for production of non-timber products with food importance. Recently conventional model of protected area and Reduced carbon Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) programare introduced and promoted in the name of protecting the planate. By goal or nature the programmes destroy environment of producing non-timber forest products which require moderately open space in forest for production. It takes many years and generations to make the tribal groups well adapted to the high energy foods of non-tribal groups. Access to forest resources would make notable differences in their lives. The issue of the groups are little cared in both national and international policies and imposing the regressive policies against their welfare of the people. Thus the risk of extinction of the dwindling ethnic groups has been increased. There are adequate scientific bases to justify that these national and international policies diverting their livelihood based resources for offsetting carbon emission of affluent societies and polluted industries, supplying timber of urban users and quenching wild thrust of rich people are genocide against the dwindling ethnic groups.
The policy problem of indigenous communities is not only in Nepal but also in other countries such as India, Indonesia, Papua Genuine and Congo. The policies are imposed by not only national governments but in the advice and support of the members in FAO council including funding agencies (e.g. Norway, USAID, AUSAID, DFID/UK and Swiss Agencies), working for Right to food. The World Bank programme is most pervasive and deadly. Some scholars and leaders of indigenous people are attempted to draw international attention on this critical issue. Why is the committee for the Right to Food bypassing it? Is it not an important issue for the committee? I believe formation of the committee is meaningless for the dwindling ethnic groups.
Is the glass half full or have empty?
I could not know whether the glass half full or have empty because the size or edge (horizon) of the glass is beyond my sight. However, I found that the subject of right on living means including food is a socially contracted reality. People in powerful position define demarcate boundary of the glass and determine whether half full or have empty based on their own values and interests. People with little power should accept the value imposed by the powerful groups. I also found that the definition and application also vary with societies and time. This may be a pessimistic view.
What would be the role of the Committee on World Food Security?
I believe information is a powerful tool. The Committee should look the problem of people’s right to food and its solutions constructively. The focus should be on people on critical need. Based on my knowledge the information produced by the committee are poorly communicated so these are poorly reached to or used by policy decision makers. The committee should improve the strategies of collecting and communicating the information. The right to food is also a humanitarian problem so open and proactive advocacy practices should be promoted at national and international level. I see funding agencies are drivers of the bad policies in many institutional weak countries. The committee should do direct and open talk to the funding agencies (bilateral and multilateral).
Thanks for patiently reading my opinions.
Dear Moderator and participants of the FSN forum
The points in the declarations are still too general and inadequate to attract attention of policy decision makers on critical conditions. Most of the points in the declaration represent mainstream groups. The declaration is silent on the nutritional issues of minority, crises condition and regions with special food production systems. The people in government policy decision making can be lost to interpret the points in the declaration and translate into actions. My specific points are as follows.
1. The third point of the preamble section, for example,has missed the term “Natural rights on food”. In current development context some ethnic groups have been deprived of using the natural rights on food. It is based on the fact that the human races are naturally different in food bases from evolution perspective. The requirement of nutritional elements are, thus, naturally (genetically) different between the races. Or the groups may genetically adapted to the food sources on which their evolution based. The food bases of the society particularly the tribal communities are encroached, destroyed and criminalised in uses by mainstream societies. The minority groups are disadvantaged position to influence in government policy and markets. Many of them are not aware of effect of their food habit changes in their future generation. The policy and markets are dominated by mainstream groups which have increased the tempting the group on the food of mainstream societies. The interventions might have caused deficiency of the essential nutrition and led to extinction of the groups. The nutritional elements of the people could be increased by increasing their awareness on and access to their natural food bases.
2. In the section of multiple threats of mal-nutrition, the document has stated the problem of climate change but the policy actions to mitigate the climate change have also increased threats to food security, the main pathway to nutrition, particularly for socially disadvantaged communities. The effects are more pervasive and serious than the global climate change at present context. For example, vulnerable people access to the food of common properties such as forests and alpine grazing areas which provided hedge against extreme misery conditions. Nowadays their accesses are restricted with expansion of national park/ protected area, community forestry and REDD forest policies. If you like to make the declaration fair the threats requires to be acknowledged.
3. The issues of food security and nutrition problems are more critical in institutionally weak countries where international organizations (e.g. the World Bank, ADB, IPCCC and EPA) can make high influences in national policies decisions by using their material and symbolic powers. These agencies often overlook the issues of food security and nutrition of vulnerable societies in achieving their work progresses in other fields. For example, the World Bank has advised the Nepal government to apply its Carbon fund to managed community used forest resources for carbon storage under REDD policy. Many vulnerable people including tribal groups are based in the forest. The programme, by nature, restricts the vulnerable people’s access to local forest resources and affects food production and nutritional access. It also displaced local employment and increases the numbers of Nepalese women suffering from domestic violence and sexual abuses. You can read the online EPIN document to evaluate the quality of the programme activities that the World Bank groups agreed to support (https://www.forestcarbonpartnership.org/node/3877). Therefore it is important to include a point about dialoguing with other international organizations to stop the policies and programmes that threatens food security and nutrition in vulnerable communities.
4. It also requires action oriented commitments representing needs of minority groups, crises conditions and regions with special food production system in all sections.
Carbon Fund Ninth Meeting (CF9), April 9-11, 2014, Brussels, Belgium. (the EPIN document is attached in the first programme scheduled on Thursday).https://www.forestcarbonpartnership.org/node/3877--
Dear Moderator and FSN members,
I recommend that the following agenda is included in the CFS activity list for the Biennium 2016-17.
1. AGENDA/ ISSUE
Addressing growing problems of communal and public land resources complemented food production systems
INTRODUCTION OF THE AGENDA
Communal and public land resources complemented food production and livelihood support systems is an indigenously evolved system of food production in some communities of many developing countries. The resource serves as a critical element (plays complementary instead of supplementary role) in the production system and makes the food production possible in the areas. The complementary production system was practiced to adapt in harsh local agro-ecological condition in some communities (e.g. mountain and dry-land /desert regions) or evolved with special nature of social behavior of some ethnic groups (e.g. tribal/ indigenous communities). Long term and innovative uses of the resources (e.g. forest products and grazing) in farming contributed in evolving the socio-ecological systems which provide much higher level of environmental, social and economic goods and services than the intact or conventional management system of the resources in the communities. A journal article on this link (DOI:10.4236/ojf.2014.41010) provides some details about the system and its importance in alleviating local food insecurity issues, environmental problems and socioeconomic challenges.
There are deliberately growing external interventions to cease the indigenous uses of the public/ communal land resources for sake of distance users’ (affordable forest products for urban consumers and reducing carbon offsetting cost of overseas industries and affluent societies) benefit. The interventions have also ceased the resources traditional available for food production. Common activities ceasing the opportunities include the management of the resources for carbon trade, biodiversity conservation under protected area scheme and commercial timber production. The payment for other uses of the resources (if offered by any external agency)cannot compensate the real level of food production loss due to instrumental role in sustaining upstream and downstream linked food production system. Let’s take a case in the Nepal’s high mountain belt which is a highly remote and critical food shortage area. The farmers in the region have marginal quality of land with ultra-size of private landholding. Livestock is the most valuable means of food security (e.g. source of draft power for food transportation and farm ploughing, and milk, manure and meat production). The alpine pasture resources are principal means for sustaining the livestock. Grazing access to the lower hill forests particularly in winter (snowing) season is also critical to sustain the alpine resource based livestock business. Practicing of externally/internationally induced forestry protection policies and programmes has reduced fodder availability or increased restriction on the livestock grazing in the mid-hill forests. The undernourished and poor farmers are further suffered. Here I cannot explain the pain of suffering people and other social problems associated with the loss of their livelihood means. I would like to ask the FAO experts whether any payment for climate mitigation service of the lower hill forests can compensate the food security and other social loss of those victim communities.
Let’s take another heart touching case published in a Nepali newspaper (Nagariknews) on 17 April 2014. The newspaper found that many forest user groups in a highly food deficit district purposively put fire on in their community forests. In reality forest development and protection agencies had socially trapped the community people to plant pine tree species densely in their forestland which was historically managed for multipurpose uses including grazing. The understory growth of grasses was suppressed as the pine tree grew. The declining of grass production made it difficult for the small farmers or marginal landholders to sustain livestock business - a means of food security. The desperate farmers compelled to set fire on in the pine forest despite knowing that the fire setting in the forest is a criminal activity.
Conservation and enhancement of public and community resource complemented food security system would bring many benefits in addition to relieving the undernourished people and preventing poor farmers from being involved in criminal activity for food security. It would provide a safety net for the resource users under the condition of natural disasters and political institution failure. Supporting in the uses of the resources, as in Satoyama farming system in Japan, would contribute to the existence of human residences in low populated and remote areas where emigration has been a serious social problem. Conservation of agro-biodiversity is another benefit. The community would also contribute in conserving the cultural heritage or social identity of mountain people and promoting indigenous knowledge.
· Identification of and mapping the regions and communities where such system can make significant difference in food security and social wellbeing
· Policy lobbying and advocacy at national and international levels to conserve and enhance the system
· Exploring resource management options including period in both participatory approach and independent research
· Development of resource management plans and enforcement institutions in participatory approach
· Implementing the management plans
· Research and intensive monitoring of work progress for timely correction of emerging problems and weaknesses.
I found it difficult to identify the appropriate work stream in the linked document. The work-streams and themes are not universal concepts; rather organizations or working committees classify them for management convenience. The agenda might overlap with many streams or themes such as sustainable livelihood, ecosystem services, indigenous communities and mountain development. After reading many documents the issue was poorly related to the FAO work stream of “Forests for Food Security and Nutrition” as the program focused on “trees beyond forests”. Increasing trees beyond forests or intensification in private land makes little difference in alleviating food security problem in those communities due too small size of private landholding. The intensification of trees in private lands of some regions (e.g. high-mountain) can make food security worse due to high degree of effect of space, light and nutrition competition with other kinds of food production activities. In addition making functional of some of the systems requires lands in multiple communities including different ecological zones. Poor people cannot afford to have there. Based on my reading of many documents the FAO team working in the “Forests for Food Security and Nutrition” program seems inappropriate to lead this agenda because the team has not acknowledge this very important issue in any document. In addition the recommendations of “The International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition” organized by this team has not recognised the proven threats or problems of REDD+ and other forest protection initiatives for escalating food insecurity problem in developing countries. The initiative is rather considered an opportunity for food security of indigenous ethnic groups. The policies and programmes are the main obstacles to conserve the indigenous food security systems. It means the team cares little about poor communities, the public/communal resource based people and indigenous practices. In essence, the work-stream makes small difference but the working team requires pro-community attitude and good level of knowledge of the system and root causes.
There are many reasons that FAO should play proactive role to address the growing problems of communal and public land resources complemented food production system. The root causes of escalating the food security problem in these areas are international policies and programmes. Dealing with this issue is under the work mandate of FAO. In some areas (e.g. Nepal) FAO played some roles to create the problem in the system. If FAO is committed to take corporate social responsibility of any bad impacts in societies it should accept the liability of past work programmes or policies. The food security problems in developing countries and marginalized areas are the most powerful instrument of FAO to convince to and get funds from donor agencies. The communities with the forest resource based food production system are also living in marginal production areas and are socially, economically and environmentally vulnerable. Therefore they deserve the FAO support. If some initiatives of protecting the systems are not taken in time, the opportunity of protecting the complex system based food security will be locked due to increasing social, legal and environmental complexities related to the resources. From my understanding FAO is the right organization to explain the threats and convince the stakeholders who play crucial roles in dealing with the problem of the indigenous food production systems. Finally, if FAO ignores the problems of marginalized people in developing countries for the sake of conserving forest to offset emission from industries and affluent societies and mitigate global warming, it will be nick named western vehicle.
1. The Local Environmental, Economic and Social Tragedies of Managing Community Forests for Global Environment Conservation: A Critical Evaluation. The Open Journal of Forestry. 2014. 4(1):58-69. DOI: 10.4236/ojf.2014.41010
2. उपभोक्ता नै लगाउँछन् वनमा आगो (User group set fire up on their community forest). Nagariknews 17 April 2014. http://www.nagariknews.com/society/nation/story/16668/16668
3. FAO. 2014. Recommendations, reflections and photos from the FAO conference Forests for Food Security and Nutrition. http://www.focali.se/en/news/recommendations-reflections-and-photos-from-the-fao-conference-on-forests-for-food-security-and-nutrition. FAO Rome
From my understanding the meaning of 'care farming' is broader than what you define in this discussion. It also refers to any farming practices for protecting people, resources, economy and cultures in critical condition (otherwise can result irreversible disaster). You limited the phrase in education and socialization of people with special need (elderly people, children and disables) and by external agencies supports. Therefore many participants confused on providing examples in their communities or countries. Based on your definition, the kitchen gardening in primary school can be considered a care farming. The schools provide education, socialization and care to young children. The schools can achieve the services by involving students in the kitchen gardening.
I would like to present some indigenous practices of care farming in Nepal.
a. People living individually (alone) keep pet animals (cat, dog or bird) to reduce loneliness. Some of them do kitchen gardening or other farming to keep them busy. These are examples of self-care farming practices.
b. Some people grow vegetables or keep animals (e.g. milking cow or buffalo) to make happy to their elderly parents. The people could provide vegetable and milk from other sources with less cost and effort but the parents would not be that happy as they would be produced in own home. The practice provides mental care of the elderly.
c. People establish and care gardening in public places (e.g. temple area and community halls) where elderly people gathers for socialization with neighbors.
You might be interested to find the cases that help in developing projects. My contribution might not help you that much.
I believe Nepali Gundruk (silage popularly of brassica species e.g. radish and Chinese cabbage) making knowledge and conservation practice are relevant to share in this discussion.
1. Are there any lively examples of indigenous methods of food preparation and how do they influence food security and nutrition?
Formal published research will be welcome on this point. Gundruk making requires practices of fermentation and drying of moderately green leaves of the vegetables. The Nepalese farmers used to preparing and preserving the food item in the vegetable seasons, and eating in vegetable scarcity seasons. It contributes to nutrition not only by preserving nutrients but also by increasing taste by adding aroma. The product is rich in iron and very useful for reproductive women. The vegetable preservation method was popular and important in old days because farmers had limited or no access to green vegetables during off seasons. However, household importance of the food preservation practice has been declining with increasing production of green vegetable all round the year.
2. What informal strategies have been put in place by local communities to ensure that this knowledge is not lost?
Based on my knowledge, communities are not organized to ensure that this knowledge is not lost. However, the knowledge has been conserved in communities. Nowadays people accustomed to the taste of the Gundruk like to eat it even if they have enough access to green vegetable all round the year. People migrated overseas also like to eat the product. Even some children who have grown up overseas like to have its soup as they took up the taste for the product from their parents. However, some people do not know to produce the product overseas.
They ask parents, relatives or friends about the method of producing it. If they cannot produce themselves they ask family to send some as a gift for them. Nowadays the product carries a special Nepali identity. Thus some restaurants have included the soup of the product in their menu. Therefore if senior generation give some experience or taste of the product to new generations the local knowledge of producing or preparing is likely to pass informally to the next generation.
Thank you for reading my opinion.
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.
Dr. Bhubaneswor Dhakal
One of the emerging critical problem which requires the real time information for food security:
One of the low cost and practical areas for using real time information in Nepal's mountain area is protecting crops and livestock against wild animals. Most farming lands in the mountains are surrounded by forests where wild animals destroy crops and prey livestock. Their harm has been increased due to increasing conservation activities. Some of the animals have increased life threats and scary feelings to the people living in the localities. Women and resource poor farmers have been suffered most from the wild animals. Many arable lands are abandoned from farming due to loss of the crops and animals and threats to humans. Providing real time information of the animals' roaming location by putting a GPS tag on their body parts would help the victims farmers including women to make plans to keep their crop and livestock safe. It is a low cost method as the cost of GPS tagging is not much nowadays. The information can be sent on farmers' phone. But the government and other development support agencies have shown little interest in the real time approach for food and human security. The conference paper given in the following link well demonstrated that the wild animals will be further problematic for food security in Nepal and similar other countries in Asia and Africa regions where wildlife protected areas are going to be increased for meeting the global target of allocating 30 % land territory for biodiversity conservation by 2030.
The material is published in the researchgate and can be accessed at this link .
It has shared some surprising learning of a country highly dependent on foreign aids and international advisory support.