Himalica program to enhance rural livelihoods in Barshong

24-25 September, Thimphu: A Himalica program to enhance rural livelihoods and climate change adaptation will be soon implemented in an identified pilot area, Barshong.  It is one of the remotest geogs under Tsirang Dzongkhag with five chiwogs and 231 households where people mainly depend on orange and vegetables for cash income.

The program managed by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal would work to reduce poverty, enhance sustainable land and water management while also facilitating the equitable and well being of both women and men there.

According to Mr. Christian Mazal, the Programme Coordinator from Himalica, the project would start possibly from November 2013 for a period of three years i.e. till 2017 along with a budget support of US$ 555, 000 from European Union.  He added that the project aims to achieve 30% increase in rural household income.

In order to discuss the project related activities, ICIMOD together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests organised a two day meeting at Druk Hotel with participants from both parties.

The meeting prepared a holistic plan of activities based on themes such as water resources, land management, market and livelihoods, and cross cutting issues to be implemented in Barshong. Some of these identified activities includes establishment of market linkages and storage facilities, improvement of food and nutrition, crop diversification, improve pest and disease management, off-farm enterprises, improved breeds, capacity building, community engagement, enhanced non-wood forest products among others.  During discussion, the floor felt that that the activities needs to be further prioritised based on the requirements of project objectives.

According to Tsirang Dzongda, Dasho Ngawang Pem who chaired the meeting, the identified activities will be discussed with geog people to understand about their needs that will help them to generate viable income while also helping climate change adaptation. Based on that, the ministry will put up a proposal to ICIMOD and carry out other formalities such as signing of agreement. Following this, a team from ICIMOD would pay a visit to Barshong for better understanding of the pilot area and its livelihoods. The project coordination unit would be based at the Policy and Planning Division.

During the meeting, the ICIMOD team were also informed about the RNR-sectors’ priorities in the 11th FYP along with a sector adaptation plan of action under the Global Climate Change Alliance project.

According to Mr. Christian Mazal, Himalica is also planning to implement similar projects in Myanmar and other Hindu Kush Region in the near future.

Reported By Tshering Doma, ICS

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