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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2013 in Stuttgart-Hohenheim

"Agricultural development within the rural-urban continuum"

Nettle Value Chain Solutions to Bridge the Rural-Urban Divide in Uttarakhand India

Sushrut Chauhan, Sanjay Bahti, Manish Juyal

GIZ- RED Programme, Uttarakhand, Sustainable Economic Development, India


Himalayan nettle (Girardinia diversifolia) a natural fiber yielding plant species grows naturally in Uttarakhand, India between 1200-3,000 m asl. The traditional usage by ethinic groups has been restricted to traditional household applications like slippers, bags, ropes etc. This high value plant, having significant potential for value addition, provides alternative livelilhood options for the local communities.
In 2010-2012, the GIZ under its Regional Economic Development (RED) Program, in partnership with Uttarakhand Bamboo and Fiber Development Board (UBFDB) assessed the entire value chain. A series of consultations, findings of value chain analysis, focus group discussions, multi-stakholder meetings showed that a multi-pronged approach is required to widen the bottlenecks in the value chain. Stakholders associated directly or indirectly with himalayan nettle addressed different bottlnecks at various levels. Framework conditions like allowing for sustainable collection of plant from protected forests were address with Uttarakhand Forest Department. Resulting in the allowence to collect plant fiber from reserve forest for livelihood purposes. The state government positively supported the initiative by declaring a minimum support price (MSP) INR 35 per kg for fiber in 2010. MSP was further increased to INR 55 per kg in 2012.
To ensure sustainable harvesting from the wild, the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun started working on its cultivation practices. After streamlining the supply side, GoUk and UkFD along with GIZ-RED concentrated on the bottleneck within the processing technology.
A series of technolgical inventions were initiated to develop consistent, standardised yarn. RED efforts were concentrated on developing carding and slivering machines. The innovation and partial mechanisation for converting bast into weavable yarn helped in improving the overall economics of the nettle value chain. Prominent donars like Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT), IFAD and NGOs were mobalised for upscalling and extension.
Yarn developed is being supplied to women groups for making value added products like stoles, shawls, scarfs, etc. These eco-friendly products are slowly finding their place in the fashion industry. Design firms have started contacting the womens group for products. The innovation has also increased sufficient interest in other Indian states like Sikkim and also from countries like Nepal and Bhutan.

Keywords: Capacity building, Girardinia diversifolia, Himalayan nettle value chain, improved technology, Uttarakhand

Contact Address: Sushrut Chauhan, GIZ- RED Programme, Uttarakhand, Sustainable Economic Development, 3rd Floor,Hotel Inderlok, 29 Rajpur Road, 248001 Dehradun, India, e-mail: sushrut.chauhan@giz.de

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