Nearly 70 percent of Nepal’s population works in agriculture, yet this South Asian country struggles to produce an adequate and affordable supply of food. The Government of Nepal has made food security a national priority and, together with Feed the Future, is working with the agricultural private sector to produce more diverse and nutritious foods, improve agricultural practices among farmers, and create more inclusive economic opportunities.
Farmers supported by Feed the Future increased their vegetable yields by 22 percent and their gross profit margins for vegetables by 17 percent in 2018. With better quality seeds and improved inputs and practices, farmers also increased rice yields by an average of 36 percent, maize yields by 62 percent, and lentil yields by 82 percent since the start of the initiative.
Feed the Future increased access to formal credit and helped savings and credit cooperatives and micro-finance institutions expand their client base by linking them to farmers groups. As a result, more than 76,000 households accessed agricultural loans worth almost $4.3 million in total.
These results reflect information from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Peace Corps, reported into Feed the Future’s central monitoring system for fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Impact data for poverty statistics come from the 2015 Nepal Interim Assessment Report, originally collected through the Nepal Annual Household Survey in 2013-2014 (poverty) and stunting and food security data come from the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2016. For more information on the indicators above, please view the Feed the Future Indicator Handbook. All dollar amounts are in U.S. dollars.
- Engage the private sector in agricultural value chains
- Promote value chain growth and diversification
- Increase incomes
- Enhance food security
- Increase resilience to climatic, economic, and unusual shocks and stressors
- Improve the nutrition of women and children
Zones of Influence in Nepal
- 21 hill and terai districts in the Western, Mid-Western and far Western regions
- 4 earthquake-affected districts in the central regions
- Cereals (Rice & Maize)
Despite Nepal’s agricultural potential, more than half of Nepali households suffer from food insecurity. The prevalence of stunting for Nepal stands at about 36 percent nationally, and 47 percent of children under 5 are stunted in Feed the Future target regions.
The underlying causes of hunger, poverty, and undernutrition in Nepal include low agricultural productivity, weak market connections and coordination, poor infrastructure, and inadequate government resources. Gender, ethnicity, and caste relationships also play an important role in food security as a majority of women and many marginalized group members work in agriculture, and often do not have access to their own land, cash or other productive assets.
Despite these difficulties, there are many opportunities for agriculture-led growth in Nepal. Feed the Future emphasizes a multi-sector approach to developing market systems in Nepal, with an emphasis on greater private sector engagement.
Feed the Future works with private sector partners and the Government of Nepal to help men, women, youth, and marginalized group members transform from subsistence farmers into more resilient and prosperous participants in Nepal’s food system, from farm to fork. Efforts include partnering with more than 100 private sector entities to leverage the private sector’s own investments and expertise. The goal is to extend the private sector’s reach to rural areas to provide services like agricultural training, increase access to better inputs and technologies like improved seed varieties and agricultural equipment, and directly connect farmers to markets.
Feed the Future is also promoting digital technologies and services to accelerate progress toward its goals and testing promising applications for financial services, agricultural production and marketing, and seed systems.
Feed the Future aims to improve the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and children under 2 years old by improving access to and consumption of diverse, nutritious foods by encouraging kitchen gardening and backyard poultry farming. When coupled with training on nutrition and hygiene and sanitation, these activities can drastically improve the health of Nepali women, giving them the opportunity to become more economically and socially empowered.
Feed the Future supports the following programs, partnerships and organizations in Nepal.
- Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) Phase III
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss
- USAID Food for Peace Promoting Agriculture, Health and Alternative Livelihood (PAHAL) Activity
- USAID Food for Peace Sustainable Action for Resilience and Food Security (SABAL) Activity
- USAID Food for Peace Technical and Operational Performance Support
- Heat-Stress Tolerant Maize for South Asia
- John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program
- Knowledge-Based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture in Nepal (KISAN) II Activity
- Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Activity
- Suaahara II Integrated Nutrition Activity