Allo – High Altitude Natural Fiber – Products from Nepal

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Introduction

Allo fiber has been used as a weaving thread for shawls, blankets, bags and clothes by several indigenous communities such as Magar and Rai  living in high mountains across Nepal. Making of Allo fiber and weaving has been an age-old process that has been handed down over countless generations, and was in verge of extinction due to  modern textiles replacing the traditional natural fabrics.

However, with UNDP’s initiative such as Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP, http://www.medep.org.np for their activities) where AusAID has been a lead donor, many local communities especially women are able to continue Allo making and weaving practice. Many of them have created a sustainable small scale enterprise making, weaving and selling Allo products not only in the domestic market but overseas as well. Increasingly, Allo is viewed as a premium export potential for Nepal.

What is Allo?

Allo fiber is extracted from Allo Sisnu, a species of the giant stinging nettle Girdardinia diversifolia, which is a perennial, wild plant that grows at an altitude of between 900 and 2,500 meters above sea level.

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Allo Sisnu in its full blossom

The Allo fiber is harvested each year in autumn from the bark of the Allo Sisnu plant. One year old shoots from the plant are cut and dried and the bark is peeled and cooked to extract the fiber, while the inner stem left after the bark removal is used for firewood. The fiber is then made into yarn, which can be dyed and woven into fabric using hand looms.

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Allo Sisnu barks being dried

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Allo Sisnu yarn of fine quality

Why Allo?

– natural and durable

– non-timber product, harvested from community and government owned forests following a green sustainable practice

– centuries long tradition used by indigenous communities

– creates local employment and business opportunities to uplift living standards

– several products such as bags, carpets, table mats, shawl, clothes

allo products

Allo products – shawl, carpets

YetiCrafts and Allo

One of YetiCrafts’ goals is to promote this type of indigenous sustainable practice to the wider global community. YetiCrafts provides an online platform through which handicrafts items such as Allo products could be made available to the wider community. YetiCrafts also works on opposite direction of value chain providing valuable feedback and market demands back to the local community so that they are able to continue improve the quality and design of Allo products.

It is a win-win situation for all parties – local community benefits from being able to continue their skills and increase their economic status with new business opportunities without a need to migrate to other locations for better opportunities; the end user benefits from being able to experience and use the unique handicrafts such Allo fiber and products in their daily lives; most importantly we all together help to keep and promote a green, sustainable, community-driven value chain practice. In a small way, this will help the world to be a better place to live.

YetiCrafts works with a local handicrafts outlet Kolpa based in Kathmandu, which is also dedicated to promote and create business value through these types of indigenous local community handicrafts and arts making skills across Nepal.

Please below for the Allo items at YetiCrafts

http://yeticrafts.com.au/product-category/natural-fibres/allo/

Yeticrafts

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