Food insecurity remains a serious challenge for Nepal. Agricultural growth provides the principle pathway to tackle this problem. For agriculture to make this contribution, land and labour productivity have to grow to start with. This is the only way to break the current vicious circle which prevents farmers from transacting in the food markets due to low productivity and thus in purchasing modern farm inputs to raise the productivity. Public investment has to lead this process, notably in irrigation and infrastructure, technology generation, prevention of animal and crop diseases and pests and natural resource conservation. It is equally important to take steps to improve access to nutrition and safe food for vulnerable communities.
Nepal’s economy is highly dependent on agriculture, which accounts for about one-third of GDP and employs two-thirds of the population. It is a major source of livelihood for approximately 75% of Nepalis, particularly in rural areas where there are large numbers of marginalized and disadvantaged people, and where poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition have the highest instances. In the selected 14 project districts, it is estimated that 40-60% of the population is unable to meet the minimum daily caloric intake. The sector is characterized by smallholder, traditional and substance farming, however farmers typically have limited use of improved livestock, seeds, crop varieties or modern practices, poor irrigation systems, and high instances to pest and disease, high risk of natural disasters like flood and draught.
The Food and Nutrition Enhancement Security Program (FANSEP) enhances climate resilience and improves agricultural productivity and nutrition practices in targeted smallholder farming communities in selected areas of Gorkha. The project primarily targets vulnerable (earthquake affected, acute food insecure, disadvantaged, marginalized, and women headed) households and aims to reach those group of people. The project introduces and promotes climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices by availing households of adapted technologies, by providing better performing plant and animal genetic resources, and by building the capacity of farmers to master skills for improved agronomic and animal husbandry practices.
Target crops are rice, wheat, maize, finger millet, and potato as well as highly nutritious crops such as buckwheat, pulses, beans, and vegetables. Target livestock species include poultry, goats, and cows. The project also organizes and strengthens producer groups representing the targeted smallholder farmers by organizing them around commodities of common interest and enhancing their capacities in terms of good governance and leadership skills, group dynamics, decision making, problem solving and risk management, bookkeeping, meeting organization, agricultural seasonal planning, marketing, value addition, preparation of simple business plans, and simple monitoring and evaluation.