Nepali Times
Life Times
Little green store


GREEN SCENE


Take a left at Jai Nepal cinema and head towards Hattisar, and you'll come across a small green store on your right: ecoKendra. True to its name, the shop showcases environment-friendly products including renewable energy technologies, organic food, natural fibre products and recycled goods. The store has been recently opened by Ecoprise, a company that focuses on environment-friendly products and solutions.

"While setting up solar systems in rural areas and showcasing our products in trade fairs we met many producers of organic goods," says Bhuwan KC of Ecoprise, "we decided to give them a platform for their products."

After several months of networking and research, Ecoprise was able to gather enough interested producers to start a store. ecoKendra sources its goods from various parts of the country: orange juice from Phidim, herbal drinks from Kalikot, apple brandy from Jumla, bel juice from Siraha and coffee from Argakhanchi. Trendy hemp bags and sandals from Rolpa and Darchula fill the racks.

All products have organic certification from National Association for Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA) in Australia or Nepal's Department of Food Technology and Quality Control. ecoKendra is trying to obtain international certification for all the products it promotes.

The store has a fair-trade value system and believes in increasing local sales by cutting down the mark-up. "We want to change the misconception that anything labeled organic is expensive and only for foreigners," explains KC. "The prices have been maintained accordingly so that Rasuwa's lentils are just as affordable as lentils in any other shop."

ecoKendra also showcases a range of solar-powered light systems. You can get a basic portable LED at only Rs 1,000. Another solar powered light system with mobile charger costs only Rs 1,650. Larger systems are also available for households and offices.

KC says that ecoKendra is not just about the ecology, but about economics. It makes economic sense to go green. "Ecoprise is a socially motivated organisation, but we do not want to depend on handouts," he explains. The organisation is also in negotiations with supermarkets to open a separate section for organic and eco-friendly products.

ecoKendra is seeking to expand its product range. KC says, "We want to be a one stop store for eco-friendly products and solutions."



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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