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Healing Herbs Nepal: Transforming an environmentally exploitative trade

Transcendental Meditation News - UK    Translate This Article
29 March 2014

From the highest peaks of the Himalayas to the steamy jungles of the plains, Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Yet, it is also one of the poorest, with 30 per cent of the population living on less than US$14 per person a month. About 80 per cent of the population live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood and it is here that the problems of poverty and malnutrition are most acute.

At the same time, Nepal is endowed with abundant natural resources, including a rich biodiversity of more than 1,700 medicinal plants. These have been used since ancient times in the indigenous Ayurvedic system of healthcare. Today, rural communities wild harvest these herbs as one means of making a living. In recent times global demand for the herbs has rocketed leading to over harvesting which is threatening some species with extinction. Moreover, regrettably the money from their harvest goes mostly to middlemen rather than to the harvesters themselves.

Transforming an environmentally degrading and exploitative trade

Healing Herbs Nepal is a new project that has been set up to transform this environmentally degrading and exploitative trade in herbs. It is being spearheaded by Earth Open Source ( a non-profit organisation dedicated to assuring the sustainability, security, and safety of the global food system. Earth Open Source supports an agroecological approach to farming, one that is farmer and community-based while embracing sustainable practices that conserve soil, water and energy, and produces healthy and nutritious food free from unnecessary toxins. It is the brainchild of Dr John Fagan, a molecular scientist and director of the international GM testing service, Genetic ID.

Dr Fagan explains that Healing Herbs Nepal has a dual objective, inspired by the desire to remove poverty in developing countries through organic agriculture. The first objective is to help protect Nepal's rapidly eroding biodiversity by training farmers to grow high-quality medicinal herbs sustainably and organically. The second is to improve the income of impoverished rural communities through a fairer distribution of the income from the trade.

Global Good News will continue to feature this report about the Healing Herbs Nepal project.

Source: Adapted from Transcendental Meditation News – UK

Copyright © 2014 Maharishi Foundation UK

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