Nepal is an agrarian country, and it is obvious that most of the micro-enterprises established so far are agro-based, forest-based, or livestock-based. Such programs are relevant due to the high incidence of poverty in underdeveloped rural economies in Nepal.
Situated in the extreme northwest of the country, Humla is one of the districts of Karnali Zone which is not linked to the rest of the country by a moterable road. Agricultural production in Humla meets household food requirements for only 3 to 9 months of the year. The large populations are depending on government subsidized rice to meet their hand and mouth.
One of the main causes of high levels of mortality and morbidity in Humla is malnutrition. Rice maize, barley, wheat, buckwheat, potatoes, soyabean, beans, amaranth, coriander, and several types of dry rice are grown in this district. Oats, cotton, and other vegetables are other general crops.
A study conducted from January 2 – February 3, 2011 shows that there are lots of opportunities of micro enterprise development to mitigate severe food insecurity in Humla district. According to local NTFP trader Katak Lama of Hepca village (45 years old), ‘‘there is a great demand for atis (Delphinium himalayae) at Nepalgunj market, which ultimately supplies India. The market can absorb the production of cultivated atis. Hence, there is a need to cultivate it. Moreover, some semiprocessing and value addition work could be done to assure quality.’’ Simikot VDC is the most potential for the apple and honey.
In Syada vdc cooperatives could also establish village-based small scale industries such as soap factories from “Naru”( Strackeyi spp), oil extraction mills from the kernels of the wild apricot “Chuli” (Prunus spp.), wild peach “Khaamo” (Prunus spp.) and walnut “Okhar” (Juglans regia) as these wild fruit trees are found abundantly in this areas. They use Naru for bathing purpose, highly foaming property.
Establishment of oil extraction mills at village levels could also lessen the dependence of cooking oil from Simkot and Taaklaakot market as the produced oils could be locally used for household consumption. The fruit flesh of wild apricot and wild peach can be used for producing wine, candy, jam and jelly as post-harvest products and exported to the nearest city market with good packaging and labeling.
In whole Humla one cannot observe a established single instance of entrepreneurship initiative expect some retail shops in Simikot, unorganized seasonal handicraft work like ‘Phuru’(wooden cup) making and some wool work like ‘Fere’, ‘Lieu’, coat piece, Bakkhu (woolen cloths) etc in villages.