Fulbari VDC (Chitwan): A Potential Destination for B Agro-tourism Business
Agro-tourism Business

ounded by 4 village Development Committees (Mangalpur, Sharadanagar, Shivanagar and Gitanagar) and Bharatpur Municipality, Fulbari is the smallest VDC in Chitwan district of Lowland Nepal. It occupies 13.88 % of the area of the district. It is 9 km west to the district headquater and nearly 2 km from the Nepal’s only one agricultural institute (IAAS). According to the district profile of 2058, it had total households of 679 with the total population of 3016 (female-1526 and male- 1490) with population density of 217.29. Households chiefly engage in agricultural activities, which range from crop cultivation to poultry farming. Some households are pioneer in permaculture promotion in this district and are actively involved in organic agriculture and sources for aspiration for the local farmers. They are socially and institutionally bounded in Organic Agriculture Farmers Cooperative (OAFC), perhaps the first one in Nepal. Last year, this OAFC launched “Organic Pest Management School” for six months in collaboration with Ecological Services Centre, a dedicated Chitwan based NGO. “We have learned innovative ways of organic pest management strategies” Trainees got opportunities to build capacity of local farmers in organic agriculture. Agrotourism Realizing physical resources and human capital, Fulbari VDC can be promoted as potential destination for agrotourism business. This business can be launched by a local farmer or farming family or cooperatives for generating additional income through touring in farms, festivals and museums, selling farm products, and providing organic food and accommodation. This business creates opportunities for farm diversification and conservation of traditional knowledge and agrobiodiversity, and helps educate the public about evolution of
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ecological agriculture development in the VDC. Finally, it may enhance the appeal and demand for value-added products and direct-marketing opportunities that may stimulate economic development and spread the benefits to various communities in the village. “We are planning to develop this Fulbari VDC as agrotourism village linking with Ecological agriculture” Chandra Prasad Adhikari says. He also informed that international tourists from UK, France, Italy had already stayed in Fulbari. “We have the capacity of homestays for 30-35 tourists at a time” Mr. Adhikari adds. Places to Visit Chandra Prasad Adhikari has keen observation on the tourist appealing places. “Institute for Social and Environmental Research, Schools, Milk Collection Centres, Health Centre, Shrines and temples are the main places we can take our visitors ” he adds. Other places that appeal tourists are the upland and lowland fields, poultry farms, fish farms, banana plantation, irrigation canal, etc. Key persons to contact Visitors have got contacts with creative personalities and think tankers working either in Organic Farmers Cooperative or Institute for Social and Environmental Research or with youths wishing to provide better education and environment and rural development. One can share their experiences with them or take organic agriculture programs, or researches or developmental works or environmental conservation camps there and implement the activities in partnership with local people. Learning opportunities Ecological agriculture (Organic agriculture and permaculture) Ecological agriculture plays vital role in protecting and conserving ecosystems, species and genetic diversity in landscape levels. It is practiced by the farmers of the Fulbari VDC to produce safe food. Tourism promoters can use this ecological farming as eco-friendly agrotour for the farmers, researchers, teachers and students, and planner and policy makers. Visitors can directly purchase this tour package for learning environmentally safe agriculture by
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observing farmers fields and their activities. Here visitors can enjoy observing organic sunflower cultivation, rice cum fish culture, etc and learn agrobiodiversity of vegetables and trees. “Each year I take my students (from Rampur Campus) to Chandra Adhikari’s place (at Fulbari) for learning organic agriculture and organic farmers cooperatives” Khem Raj Dahal shares his experiences. Local innovations The visitors can see unique agricultural practices that help farmers fight against the problems of the agriculture production, storage and marketing. One can see rice cum fish fields, or water outlets, or modified plow, or organic fertilizer made from medicinal plants. One can meet farmer researcher innovating best practices in ecological agriculture and natural resource management for contributing to Nepalese farmers. Research methods and data management The visitors especially interested in research methodology and data management can take unlimited benefits from the Institute for Social and Environmental Research (ISER). This institute has national researchers and international collaborators and organizes training events on research methodology, capacity buildings, and environmental conservations. Dr. Dirghajibi Ghimire, Executive Director of ISER, describes, “We have trained human resources in our organization and well furnished facilities necessary to organize survey researches and data analysis” Agricultural Products Organic Farmers Cooperative has vision of marketing their organic products in Nepal and abroad. They are currently marketing their products in Kathmandu valley. “I am interested to promote organic products buying organic rice, organic vegetables and organic sunflower oil” Dr. Resham Thapa, Professor in Entomology of Rampur Campus, tells. This indicates possibility of marketing organic products in the academic institutes nearby Fulbari VDC. The Organic Farmer Cooperative already started organic food as lunch or dinner in the functions like interaction programs or

meetings. Redefining the role of organizations In Chitwan, there are many organizations working in this field. Some organizations, like Institute for Social and Environmental Research, Organic Farmers’ Cooperatives and Society for Environmental, Education and Development, are the ones located in Fulbari VDC. These organizations have to redefine their role for institutionalizing agrotourism in their organizations and developing and promoting this business in this VDC. These organizations should play to identify potential partners and organizations that can help in facilitation, coordination and growth of agro-tourism as a distinct economic activity and require strategic planning, event management, joint promotion, advertising campaigns and information management. Developing network among governments, academic institutions, NGOs and INGOs helps promote this VDC as a potential site for agrotourism in Chitwan. Developing capacity in agrotourism Capacity building is a tool that catalyzes individuals and organizations to understand, plan, and conduct activities such as training, research and development. Thus, it is necessary to build capacity of the organizations as well as individuals in agrotourism to promote Fulbari VDC for rural development through agrotourism business. The organizations should be strengthened and should build their capacity in proposal writing, reporting, communicating, guiding the tourists, financial management, environmental conservation and sanitation, agriculture knowledge, skill and entrepreneurship development, networking and partnership development, designing and planning infrastructures, research methods to conduct social and natural sciences including biodiversity monitoring, visitors impact analysis, carrying capacity, etc. Dr. Dharma Raj Dangol
Senior Research Associate in the Institute for Social and Environmental Research Fulbari, Chitwan, Nepal Fulbari VDC and Agriculture 45

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