In September 2006, a first study of an already existing agroforestry enterprise project under the name of "AF Enterprise" took place. It was then that the balance sheets of AF Enterprise and of other enterprises were recorded for the first time, followed by discussions with the farmers about how to enhance profitability.
In autumn 2007, the decision was taken to make this project happen, and the main framework was decided with the farmers, who wanted to be actively involved (15 families including 10 people with 3.5 hectare land). Kaule e.V. was founded in Germany in order to raise funds. In June 2008, it was acknowledged as charitable association and in November 2008, it was registered at the local court of Cologne.
It is decided that the project will run over several years, as this is the time span needed in order to transition from conventional cultivation methods to the agroforestry system.
In March 2009, farms will start the reorganisation. The remodelling will be carried out by farmers and volunteers who have been appointed and supervised by two Nepalese centres for volunteers: "VIN" (Volunteers Initiative Nepal) and "Hands for Help Nepal"
The foundations of the remodelling phase were planned to be completed in the same year in which they were initiated. This includes digging fish ponds and planting seeds. Terraces that are already in place will be preserved but to completely reorganize them will take several years. This is mainly is due to the fact that the trees grow at a slower pace, that regenerating the soil takes its time, and that the biological must first reach an equilibrium.
The plan for reorganization is designed according to the principles of agroforestry. To this end, positions of the terraces are first collected with a GPS receiver and then recorded on maps. Soil samples are taken and the existing vegetation is registered. On the basis of the soil samples it is possible to measure different forms progress over time, such as the levels of organic materials in the soil.
Furthermore, it will be monitored which perennial plant species are suitable for combined cultivation, or which ones complement each other positively, with the goal to develop the permanent cultivation along with varying crop rotation according to agroforestry principles.
The breeding of plants is carried out on site in rather simple greenhouses. The required plant material is gained from the existing stocks, seeds and plants purchased on locally and from material collected in the surrounding area.
In February-March 2009, a three-week training course on the topic of agroforestry was given to the farmers, so that the newly created system can be maintained and favourably expanded. Thereby, all project participants will have the opportunity to learn from each other and the farmers will be educated on the principles of agroforestry and we will learn about the farmers' practices and gain valuable insights on native plants, animals and the local culture. (You can read the report of the training here.)
In spring 2009, the market situation was analyzed to lay the ground work to of optimizing the economic efficiency of the enterprises. To this end, farmers' operating income and expenses have been recorded since 2006 on a regular basis. The analysis tackles the local market situation and raises the following questions: What can be sold? Where can it be sold best? How will the transport to this place be organised most handy?
The current situation of the farmers will be documented once again and thus provides a comparative value for the years to come. The analysis is supposed to be carried out again in later years and improvement of the situation can be monitored and demonstrated. Such analyses are accomplished on the basis of interviews and questionnaires.
The collected data is planned to be presented in form of one or more publications in order to make it available to scientific lobbyist groups. It is hoped that in this way a small contribution to the development of the agroforestry system will be made.