Mentha: A Conservation Incentive | WWF

Mentha: A Conservation Incentive



© Simrika Sharma / WWF Nepal


Kali Bahadur Oli is a resident of Mahadevpuri -7, Banke in the Terai Arc Landscape. Oli owns less than one hectare of land where he used to plant traditional crops such as maize and wheat to provide for his family of four.
 

© Simrika Sharma / WWF Nepal


Living in the buffer zone of Banke National Park, Oli had been facing difficulties making ends meet from the farming of traditional crops. His produce was often prone to damage from wildlife such as rhinos and wild boars that would enter farmlands from the adjoining forests.  

Crop depredation by wildlife in turn became a primary cause for human-wildlife conflict in many areas under the Terai Arc Landscape.  As an innovative approach to reduce human-wildlife conflict, the Terai Arc Landscape Program led by the Government of Nepal with the support of WWF Nepal came up with the concept of mentha farming.
 

© Simrika Sharma / WWF Nepal


Mentha, also known as mint, has multiple benefits. The oil produced from mentha has various medicinal properties and fetches higher returns than traditional crops. More importantly, mentha is unpalatable to wildlife. Hence mentha plantations are not harmed by wildlife and in effect serve as natural barriers to other farmlands as wildlife does not come close to it.
 

© Simrika Sharma / WWF Nepal


With the support of the Terai Arc Landscape program, local people such as Oli gained access to technical assistance through trainings on mentha plantation, distillation and purification. The program also provided financial support for the installation of distillation units for processing mentha oil, each with a capacity to process one ton of mentha at a time, benefiting around 3,500 households in Banke alone.
 

© Simrika Sharma / WWF Nepal


Kali began farming mentha from February this year and has already started seeing tangible results.  Within just four months he managed to earn a profit of Rs. 17,000 (almost double of what he used to make from traditional crops) from a single harvest. Furthermore, not a single crop was damaged by wildlife in Kali’s farmland.
 

© Simrika Sharma / WWF Nepal


Mentha farming is but one of the many initiatives being implemented under the Terai Arc Landscape program with the objective of building community ownership and stewardship in conservation. Nepal is one of the leading examples in community-based conservation through successful conservation initiatives that enable people to live in harmony with nature and wildlife.