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Poverty and Livelihood Impacts of a Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Project in India and Nepal: An Assessment

  • Kollmair, M.
  • Pandit, B. H.
  • Choudhary, D.
  • Rasul, G.

A medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) project was implemented in Nepal and parts of India from 2005 to 2009 by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development to enhance the livelihood options and reduce the poverty of poor rural households. The present study assesses the impact of the project on poverty and livelihood security using quantitative and qualitative data collected in a household survey, focus group discussions, and interviews with key informants. The project improved the skills and knowledge of producers and collectors MAPs in production, management, processing, and marketing, as well as their negotiating power with traders. This helped increase household income and alleviate poverty. However, the project's impact varied across project sites. While an impact was quite visible in Nepal and Chhattisgarh, India, it was less visible in Himachal Pradesh, India. Factors responsible for the different levels of impact are analyzed, and lessons are drawn for future programs and projects. The findings suggest that locally available and commercially valuable natural resources, including MAPs, have the potential to improve the livelihoods of rural mountain people.

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