Caritas has been supporting small farmers and economically poor to have options for sustainable livelihoods through agriculture development and micro-credit management across the country.
Caritas has made remarkable contribution in the field of agriculture especially for small farmers in Nepal. In 2003, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project was initially started as a pilot project to support small farmers with implementation of 13 Farmers Field School (FFS). With the success of pilot project, Caritas expanded the initial IPM project at national level in 24 districts.
Since 2000, Caritas has been forming cooperatives to conduct micro-credit management and small enterprise promotion.
Caritas also has conducted a joint research together with India and Bangladesh in-order to promote local food and nutritional security through adaptive small scale farming in four rain-fed agro-ecosystem in South Asia till early 2016. Under this sector, Caritas is running followingprojects:
With a goal of “Sustainable livelihood of small farmers and leading farmers out of poverty to improve social and economic wellbeing”, Caritas Nepal launched a project named “Agro-Eco-Tourism and Home stay promotion project” under IPM Program for Small Farmers for utilizing the additional fund supported by Caritas Australia. Intensive intervention areas of this project are Jhapa, Nawalparasi, Kaski, Surkhet, Bardiya and Palpa districts. This 8 month projects started from 1st November 2017 till 30th June 2018. Estimated budget of this project is AUS $125000.
Basically, the project has targeted to improve household food/nutritional security and incomes of small farmers through agro-eco-tourism and homestay. Promoting farmers for producing safe and hygenic food, this program is intended for securing livelihood security of farmers and to promote dissemination of learnings, best practices and achievements to wider scale.
Additional projects will reach directly to 931 students, small and marginalized farmers of 26 total groups in seven districts. At least 60% women and 50% Dalit, indigenous and marginalized people will participate. In total seven local implementing partners (cooperatives, NGOs and CN field offices, colleges/schools) and secondary cooperative partners are involved in program implementation.
From 2005, a project entitled Cooperative Development enterprise Promotion Project (CDEPP) was started for capacity building and economical upliftment of cooperatives based in rural areas.
There are currently 32,663 cooperatives in Nepal, which are thought to have provided jobs for 57,854 people. But there are still many areas of Nepal where local people have no experience of cooperatives and are unsure of how to set up and run their own.
Over the last decade, CDEEP has supported hundreds of cooperatives tailored their needs and capacity to manage themselves.
Were working with the less experienced cooperatives in particular to build their skills, so that theyll increasingly become self-sustaining.
Our relationships with the cooperatives also provide a great forum for awareness-raising on important topics like sanitation and hygiene, gender-based violence, and disaster preparedness.
Were thrilled to see the progress that the cooperatives are making. Its magical to watch the creativity of local people catch alight, with new business initiatives mushrooming all over the seven districts, including banana farming, start-up fisheries and raising pigs, goats and poultry.
Highlights of 2016/17 project
14 cooperative members elected in local level election
2,900 new members joined in the cooperative that makes 14% of membership increment
668 entrepreneurs perused microenterprise their incomes increased on average by 37, 000 rupees per year
Agriculture is Nepals main occupation where 65.6% live by subsistence farming, relying on what they grow to feed their families.
Small farmers in Nepal are often poorly educated or illiterate. They learn about farming from their families or communities which can be a great way to spread experience, but can also mean that farming families dont have the chance think outside the box about how they could increase yields or grow more varied crops.
More worryingly, theres evidence of widespread traditional farming practices in many areas of Nepal which can damage farmland and limit yields, such as the use of hybrid seeds, low-yielding crop varieties, dense planting (closer plantation), and haphazard use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In the best-case scenario, this means that farmers land doesnt yield its full potential and that soil fertility and productivity decrease and in the worst, families can experience serious health effects from the chemicals theyre ingesting.
Caritas launched IPM project with major activities like FFS extension in IPM for Rice and Vegetable, IPM adoption campaign in rice and vegetables, wider High Value Crop (HVC) farming, Irrigation, plastic tunnel, biological/bio-pesticide/bio-rational pesticide, pesticide awareness campaigns and farm machinery equipment support, IPM vegetable marketing center establishment, organic rooftop and kitchen gardening and mobile plant clinics that benefited at least 11,700 in the year 2016/17 small farmers and agricultural college/schools students pursuing IPM/agriculture in 30 districts of Nepal.
Caritas has also helped farmers to involve with IPM networks which is advocating effectively on sustainable agriculture, food security, farmers rights and climate change concerns by joining like-minded stakeholders.
Major Achievement of the year 2016/17
31.86% production increased in rice yield (average) and 21-56 % production increased in vegetables (av.) and Food Security improved by 2-3 months in those families
At least 2,263 small farmers have adopted IPM techniques, and pesticide use trend decreased by 60%
5,117 farmers applied disease pest management technique as recommended by plant doctors before serious crop damage
441small farmers are involved in high value vegetable farming and able to increase income from NPRs 16845 to 54750 (on average) in one season
Strengthening Small Adaptive Farming in Bangladesh, India and Nepal (SAFBIN) is a European Union funded regional project which was implemented in Bangladesh, India and Nepal form the period of March 2011 to February 2016 (www.safbin.org). The overall objective of the project was to promote local food and nutritional security through adaptive small scale farming in 4 rain-fed agro ecosystem in South Asia in the context of climate change. In Nepal, the project was implemented in 28 VDCs in four different districts (plain to mid hills) and more than 1,300 Small Holder Farmers (SHF) households were directly benefitted. They were able to build resilience in context to climate change and increase food and nutritional security by 3 to 6 months in general. In addition, the project also built the strong partnership with different stakeholders like District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), academic institution Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) Tribuwan University (TU) and Kathmandu Univerversity (KU) and other NGOs.