Allo products

With the wide array of bags, hats, jackets, shawls and tablemats produced using Allo fibres today; it’s difficult to guess they were made using an age-old process that has been handed down over countless generations. But Allo fibre harvesting and weaving is a rich indigenous Nepali tradition that has been pulled back from the brink of extinction to become a fine example of Nepali skill in the modern natural fibre market.

Allo fibre 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 metres above sea level. The Allo fibre 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 fibre, while the inner stem left after the bark removal is used for firewood. The fibre is then made into yarn, which can be dyed and woven into fabric using handlooms.

Because Allo fibre is taken from plants that grow wild in the forest, Allo production provides good business and employment opportunities for landless and marginalised people and small scale farmers. As the weaving is mostly done by women, it can also be instrumental in strengthening women’s economic position and prospects. MEDEP has been working to help establish Allo production and processing enterprises in hilly districts mainly in Parbat, Ramechhap, Myagdi, Sindhuli, Pyuthan and Dadeldhura by providing management and technical skills training and promoting nationwide market linkages. MEDEP promotes a community forest approach to Allo production to protect the sustainability of the natural resource and is currently seeking forestry certification for entrepreneurs’ products.

Allo yarn and Allo fabric in a variety of designs are available in both wholesale and retail quantities from Saugaat Griha, the sales outlet of micro, cottage and small entrepreneurs’ products at Tripureshwar, Kathmandu.


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