Economic and social Empowerment of Poor women from Aromatic herbs Business in community forests of Sarlahi, Nepal

Anita Shrestha
Posted September 12, 2019 from Nepal
Women of Sarlahi
Meeting of economic empowerment

After earning money from selling aromatic herbs cultivation inside community forest, poor people could send their girls in school. In Sarlahi, initiation has been implemented in 3 community Forest User Groups (CFUGs)  (namely Radhakrishna, Janjyoti and Nandeswor) in coordination with District Forest Office.  The project sites lies to the southern region of Nepal and located at the foot hill of Churia range. This project has an impact on improving the social stability, economic progress, and environmental sustainability of local communities. Some impacts of this project, especially the distribution of solar panel, installation of biogas scheme and Improved Cook stove to needed members of involved CFUG and the economic impact of aromatic herbs, are apparent and promising. The alternative energy component of this project helped these poor households economically and socially as well as help achieve environmental sustainability. The aromatic herbs business is more profitable if the price of aromatic herbs is cut in half. At individual household level, the trained resource persons with sustainable forest management and aromatic herbs business activities are women who came from poor families. All of the trainees received a daily compensation that roughly equals to the average daily salary of local farmers, which helps them economically.


In Sarlahi, the waste land under the high transmission line has been utilized through plantation of aromatic herbs. Likewise, the plantation of aromatic herbs has been also managed in community forests land extracting the lantana camara The project has organized awareness raising event on value chain of aromatic herbs and conducted value chain analysis of aromatic herbs (Citronella, Pamarosa, Mentha, Lemon grass and Chamomile. The project has established a total of 12 ha. Plantation of aromatic herbs in the forest area of Radhakrishna, Janajyoti and Nandeswor Community Forest Users. The forest users has also made the enrichment plantation of Lemon grass, Pamarosa, Citronella in three community forests. For the establishment of plantation, the weeding and Irrigation facilities through pumping water from ground has been provided in the plantation sites.

In Radhakrishna Forests, 13 poor women members were involved in the plantation. Community forests has provided lands for aromatic herbs plantation. After plantation, they have harvested the plants six times at the end of December 2017 and generated NRs.320,000.00 (USD 3200). In Janajyoti, 20 poor women involved in the group and generated income of NRS. 720,000.00 (USD 7,200.00) from sales of aromatic herbs. In Nandeshwor Community Forest, 48 poor women members involved in the group and has generated NRs. 360,000.00 (USD 3600) from the sales of aromatic herbs..The landless women generated income from their wastage time working in the lands provided by the community forest users.  


At this stage, the plant materials has been sold to the processing company located in Sarlahi. A marketing committee has been formed with the responsibility of dialogue with private sectors for getting more prices on the products. After the initiation of committee, the processing company has provided additional NRs. 100.00 to the existing price of Lemon Grass, Pamarosa and Citronella. The three community forests have initiated to take benefits from the sales of aromatic herbs. District Forest office has constructed a store house in Nandeswor Forests to keep the plant materials in the store to protect from rain and sun. With the initition of District Forest Office, a cooperative has been formed with the involvement of leasehold group and sub group members of Nandeswar Community Forest with 25 institutional members of group. At this stage, Nandeswor Community Forest has established a processing plant in Nandeswor Community Forests sites with the targeting of production in 2018.


Community forest in Nepal has been exemplified as most successful program for participatory resource management. Till now, 18,133 user groups are managing the community forest which included 2.23 million household.  A total of 1,700,048 hectares of forest are being used by people living nearby the forest without any intervention of the government. Women and poor households are primarily dependent on community forest for making their livelihood. Considering the role of women in community forestry, consortium partners of HIMAWANTI Nepal, ASMITA Nepal and Community Resource management Centre (CRMC) has implemented the project on Supporting Community Based Sustainable Forest Management and Economic Empowerment of Women in Central Region of Nepal with the funding support from APFNet in close supervision of Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation with the aim to contribute to rehabilitation and restoration of forestland through sustainable forest management and increase the income generating opportunities for women and forest dependent communities. The project has focused to assist on sustainable forest management and improve the forest condition through the mobilization of the forest dependent community and to generate the opportunity for the livelihood enhancement through the women lead enterprises development.

This story was submitted in response to Economic Power.

Comments 3

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Hello, Anita,

Thank you for reposting your story under the Economic Power topic. This is truly an inspiring story of women accessing economic empowerment. :)

Sep 16
Sep 16

Hello Anita,

As I raised my kids below poverty, I often said that we were rich in Love. To me a richness in Love is so much more valuable than money. Your post is a testimony on the Power and Abundance held in Love. It takes my breath away to read your post.

The diversity of benefits you all provide for the World by providing a model for Social Stability, Economic Progress, and Environmental Stability. Installing Solar Panels, using Biogas, and quality Cook Stove leads to a lower footprint on the planet. Converting Transmission Line Waste Land into Greenspace allows for the sequestering of more Carbon Dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases from the Atmosphere.

Putting people to work in Community Forests allows those to raise their self-esteem and be productive.

You are an incredible testimony to the Power of Love and Community Connectiveness to make an Incredible Change for the World.

Abundant Blessings, Dr Liz

Anita Shrestha
Sep 16
Sep 16

Thank you Dr.