MITO – Walnut maschien brings progress to Nepal

project partner: HELVETAS

Sustainably lifting smallholder farmers out of poverty

Small farmers in the Karnali region of Nepal cultivate their fields under difficult climatic conditions. Almost half of the people in the mountainous and remote area live in great poverty. But one opportunity is offered to them by the naturally occurring walnut trees. A specially developed walnut machine brings progress for the small farmers. The sale of walnut oil can sustainably free them from their poverty. This is because producing the oil in the traditional way was very costly and tedious for the women: it takes two months to obtain 12 liters of oil from 200 kg of walnut.

The MITO project, a project of ETH Zurich and the Swiss development organization Helvetas, provides a remedy here. At the start of the project in 2017, the focus was on a converted bicycle, the so-called nut bicycle. It enabled the women in Nepal to produce the valuable oil in just a few days. By selling the walnut oil and other products extracted from the walnut, the families can decisively improve their living situation. Meanwhile, more advanced walnut machines are replacing the bicycle. This enables the smallholders to produce the oil even faster and more efficiently.

MITO also protects nature, because the climate-proof indigenous walnut trees with their valuable nuts are cut down less for firewood.

 

MITO - favourable climate for nut cultivation

Use favorable climate for walnut

The region has large walnut forests and generally a favorable climate for nut cultivation. The nuts are in demand nationally and internationally. Nut, kernel and oil are in demand as products. Nurseries have already grafted plants that are even more suitable for agriculture than the standard walnut plants.

MITO - Woman on a converted nut bicycle

Thanks to technology faster walnut oil

The production of walnut oil works in three stages: 1. crushing the nut, 2. separating the shell from the fruit, 3. pressing out walnut oil. Thanks to the bicycle or nut machine, it no longer takes pure physical strength to crack the hard nut and obtain the valuable oil. A whole new market opens up for the region, where 45% live below the poverty line.

MITO - Further developed nut machines are now being used

Walnut opens opportunities for farmers

Meanwhile, more advanced nut machines are used, which massively shorten and facilitate the cracking and oil extraction process for wild walnuts. The sales and additional income enable the smallholders to send their children to school or pay for necessary medicines. It makes them more independent in the face of natural disasters.

With MITO, Helvetas is establishing a technical system in Nepal that facilitates the work of poor farming families in exploiting the naturally occurring walnuts and opens up new sources of income for them.

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Happel Foundation | Helvetas

⇒ In Nepal, the Happel Foundation supports the MITO project of the NGO Helvetas, which aims to sustainably free small farmers from poverty through the use of naturally occurring walnuts. ⇐

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