‘Pvt sector investment means more food and higher incomes’

Kathmandu, August 1

Private sector investment and engagement in Nepal’s agriculture sector increased crop yields and provided higher incomes for farmers under a five-year US government-supported programme.

At a joint Ministry of Agricultural Development and US government programme titled ‘Better Harvests: Higher Incomes, More Food and a Brighter Future for Nepal’, the Knowledge-based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition (KISAN) project shared the positive results of its programme that used modern farming technologies and private sector investment to boost crops and provide more food for Nepali communities.

“Improvements in the agriculture sector are a result of our joint collaboration with the government of Nepal to promote the use of modern farming technologies and practices,” a media release issued today has quoted US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Michael Gonzales, as saying.

Over the past five years, the United States government-funded KISAN programme fostered partnerships between Nepali farmers and over 700 private sector enterprises. The KISAN project also trained over 118,000 households across 20 districts in western Nepal. These farmers are now using modern farming technologies to meet market standards for rice, maize, lentils and high-value vegetables. As a result, the amount of food grown on more than 87,000 hectares of arable land increased by up to 100 per cent, and farmers and businesses earned approximately $169.4 million. The increased food production also allowed farming families to set aside more than 15,000 metric tonnes of nutrient-rich vegetables for their own consumption.

Following KISAN, the US introduced two robust agriculture-centred programmes aligning with the Nepal government’s Agriculture Development Strategy under Feed the Future initiative through the US Agency for International Development. The first one is $32.75 million KISAN II — a five-year programme. The project is intended to increase the role of the private sector in agricultural growth in Nepal. The second programme is a five-year, $15 million Nepal Seeds and Fertiliser project.