Amis de Dhorpatan Chekok Alu (Friends of Dhorpatan Chekok Alu) leads environmental and social projects in the isolated Dhorpatan valley in Nepal, supports diverse actions for local people and promotes cultures of Tibet and Nepal.

It was in the summer of 2014 when Isabelle Zanetti-Lama discovered the village of Dhorpatan for the first time during her trip to Nepal, a community of which her husband, a Tibetan doctor, is a native. After two days by bus, one day by jeep and three days of walking, they finally arrive in Dhorpatan. And there … Blow of heart! A blow of heart for the village, for the landscapes, and for the inhabitants! The Friends Association of Dhorpatan Chekok Alu was formed on 14th of April 2015.

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    To discover Nepal and Dhorpatan, let’s order Léa Cillard and Lionel Simon’s book, the two photographers who travelled the valley in February 2019.

    Price: 129€ (10€ donated to the association)



    The village of Dhorpatan is located in the Gandaki region of central-western Nepal and can only be reached after several days of walking. Nestled in a valley at 3900 metres altitude, it faces Mount Dhaulagiri in the Himalayas, the “home of the snows”. It is one of the highest peaks in the world (8,167 metres). Dhorpatan is the only hunting reserve in Nepal.


    The population of the Dhorpatan Valley is made up of a small community of indigenous peoples, such as the Kham Magar speaking a Tibetan-Burmese dialect, as well as Tibetan refugees. They live largely below the poverty line. There are about a thousand people (number varies according to the seasons), or between 100 and 400 families in winter.


    In this country classified among the poorest in the world, with the same standard of living as Afghanistan or Mali, agriculture is the main economic sector, with in particular the cutting of cereals (rice, oats, barley…). In the 1980s, the Swiss Red Cross introduced the more profitable potato. Thanks to the favourable climate, the inhabitants of the valley cultivate a variety with a unique taste!


    Potatoes are a basic commodity in the Dhorpatan valley:

    359 T

    what the valley produces every year in potatoes

    3 KG

    the amount of potatoes each family (4/5 people) eat an average per day

    159 T

    of potatoes are exported in Asia.

    The potato Kufri Jyoti, introduced by the Swiss Red Cross in the 1980s, is a refined product with badly known culinary qualities, despite an article of Joëlle Smadja published by the CNRS in 2003 (National French Research Center). Its unique taste is lightly sweet. Its yellow and compact pulp withstands very well any mode of cooking. And those potatoes can be kept one full year buried underground without any inconvenience!


    Our objective: to ensure a decent standard of living for the inhabitants of Dhorpatan by developing the export chain for their potato crops in Asia (Thailand, Dubai, Singapore, India…).


    • To improve agricultural yields through agronomic studies that ensure respect for the environment and thus enable producers to make profits and develop.
    • To buy potatoes from the villagers of Dhorpatan while guaranteeing the producers a decent wage to improve their living conditions.
    • To supply gourmet restaurants in Nepal and Asia with potatoes from environmentally friendly and local agriculture, compared to those usually imported from Europe.
    • In the long term, organise a processing chain and offer a wider variety of products.


    • Needs analysis of the local import agencies.
    • Study of potential markets

    Work in progress carried out by 2 volunteers, Nuria Murcias and Alice Carolyne Argentini, and 2 Nepalese agricultural engineers based in Kathmandu Archanai Battarai and Bishowog Battarai.

    • Study of logistical means to be deployed to export the potato (storage, transport, regulations…)



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