Mission Butter and Honey

04 October 2018
Shambhu Dangal - RECOFTC NCP
"...apiculture has been more lucrative option to most of the poor living in the area benefitting US$ 10 per hives."
Notes from the Field
Butter Tree Plantation Initiative
Butter Tree Plantation by Vice-Mayor of Hariwon Municipality, Sarlahi

Bishnupur and Pragatisil village is situated at the foothills of Chure (Small Mountain); the migrated communities from middle-hills of Nepal. Seeking for better livelihood opportunities, residents of the community started sugar cane cultivation as the best livelihood option as a raw material supply to the nearby sugar mill. However, due to decreasing production of sugarcane and frequent grazing by blue bull, it became apparent that the livelihood option was no longer valid and profitable. 

Although villagers gradually tried to shift their sugarcane cultivation into vegetable farming as an opportunity to tap the demand of nearby Lalbandi market: the famous hub for vegetable market in the region, the new option did not sustained and profit was not as expected due various reasons - small scale production and limited technologies remained core reasons for unstained business.

Very small area for vegetable cultivation contributed as a major constrains for the poor who had no other option then to choose option as day to day waged worker to address the hand to mouth problem. 

Bee Hive in Bishnupur CFUG
Bee-hive ready to harvest

Communities in Pragatisil and Bishnupur were optimistic to diversify their livelihood opportunity with RECOFTC intervention since 2015 through climate change adaptation program.  Communities used to suffer from flash flood almost every monsoon season. River bank protection, plantation of grasses in private land, trees and bamboo plantation, fruit tree plantations and deep boring for irrigation and apiculture have been initiated since RECOFTC intervention. Among these, apiculture has been more lucrative option to most of the poor living in the area benefitting US$ 10 per hives. However, bee-grazing throughout the year within village is limited due to unavailability of diverse flowering plant species enjoyed by the bees. Hence, farmers are obligated to graze bees outside the village (sometimes more than 100 kilometer far form original grazing area) incurring extra transportation and management costs.

The Butter Tree:

Flower of butter trees (Chiuri) are highly preferred by bees that produce very good quality honey. This multipurpose trees can produce - flowers for bees, consumable fruits, butter (from seeds), fodder for animals (from leaves), and timber (from trunk). Community and private lands are desirable sites for planting this species. Community from Pragatisil and Bishnupur decided to go for butter trees plantations and expansion of forage development for apiculture- “mission butter and honey”.  
To bring this mission in to a reality, with the financial support from RECOFTC through HIMAWANTI Nepal and in close collaboration with Hariwan Municipality, Sharlahi - poor members of communities ares already involved in bee keeping with 71 bee hives through RECOFTC’s ‘Trees and Bees Project’.

In 2018, Holistic Development Nepal (HDN) linked in this mission in arranging 5000 butter tree seedling as an initiation for forage development project in the area. A total of 3000 well grown seedlings are already planted in two community forests and 2000 seedlings are in nurseries managed by communities for hardening off and planting for next season. Recently, Hariwon Municipality is planning to scale up trees and bees engagement for most of the poor living in this area and also to increase existing scale of business within the villages and further scaling out in nearby villages.