Securing food for the poor
Soaring food prices, unequal land distribution, traditional farming system, lack of appropriate inputs and credit on right time and micro-climatic adversities perpetuated by climate change are a threat to food security for the poor people in Nepal.
Thirty-one per cent of people in Nepal are living below the poverty line and are struggling to secure year round food supply to sustain their lives and livelihoods. Lack of improved agricultural knowledge including skills on crop diversification, food production and management has been a prolonged challenge for the poor communities.
Practical Action Nepal's Securing food for the poor programme aims to reduce the vulnerability of marginalised and disadvantaged communities to ensure food security and sustain livelihoods with increased production and incomes through improved natural resource management, skills enhancement and access to appropriate technologies and resources. Interventions focus on;
- access to land through leasing
- water management
- capacity development through networking and skill enhancement training
- developing linkages with the government and non-government organisations to help access resources for both self food production and income generation.
The programme also helps the target communities to link with markets for better income opportunities.
Implementing dates: 2006 – 2010
Total project budget: €950,974.00
Co-funding: European Union (75%) Caterham Overseas Aid Trust, Enid Linder Foundations, Hodgson Charitable Trusts and Practical Action (25%)
Practical Action in Nepal has been implementing the food security project entitled "Improving livelihood security of socially excluded communities in Nepal - ILISSCON" since April 2006 with financial support from the European Union, Caterham Overseas Aid Trust, Enid Linder Foundation, Hodgson Charitable Trusts and others.
The project aims to increase the income of the land insecure, vulnerable and socially excluded households by diversification of livelihood options in six conflict affected districts in Western Nepal. Target beneficiaries are so-called low caste and marginalised communities such as dalits (untouchables), minority ethnic nationalities and women headed households who posses less that 500 sq metres of land.
Project component includes land leasing, capacity building, production diversification and enhancement, and technical and managerial assistance to target communities with the help of small but innovative technologies. Through these components the project aims to increase the livelihood of targeted communities by improving their ability to grow and market their products.
ILISSCON aims to secure year round food supply, strengthening resilience to cope with changing weather patterns, improve income by directly linking with the markets and build capacity for sustainable skill enhancement of the target beneficiaries.
The project is implemented in partnership with Local Initiative for Biodiversity Research and Development (LIBIRD) and Dalit Welfare Organisation (DWO) in Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Banke, Surkhet, Kailali and Doti districts.
Project objective: The objective of the project is to enhance the livelihood security of vulnerable and socially excluded communities in conflict areas of western Nepal.
Contact person: Prakash Kafle
Project co-funded by the European Union
Phool Kumari lives in Bankatuwa VDC, Ward No. 8, Guruwagaon of Banke District, with her husband, two children and a sister in law. Phool and her husband were barely providing two meals a day for their family. Earning to provide enough nutritious food, proper clothing and adequate shelter seemed more like a distant reality. But today things have changed after the ILISSCON project interventions; Phool has a regular source of income from selling vegetables produced in her leased land.
“The project provided us training on nursery management, seasonal and off seasonal commercial vegetable production and group management. We also received seeds, fertilisers, water cane and other supporting materials. They even installed a treadle pump in my farm” she explains.
This is one of the many successful cases of the ILISSCON project. For Phool and her husband the leasehold farming has proved to be fruitful in many ways.
“With vegetable farming we earn around NPR. 20,000 (£156) per season. With this income I am paying tuition fee for my children and sister in law. We are able to buy enough food and clothes. We even bought an ox,” she claims.
The project has installed a treadle pump in Phool’s farm; with the regular irrigation facility it has boosted the vegetable production. The treadle pump is an appropriate option for irrigation as it pumps more water than a hand pump. The project also provided treadle pump operation and maintenance training to the farmers.
“The leased land has given us a lot. Before we used to sell wooden logs and earned very less. But now we have made so much profit that we have leased another piece of land where we have planted paddy. The treadle pump is exactly what we needed to boost our production, she affirms.”
Phool is now building a new house for her family. “I am relieved because of the sustainable income. We cannot wait to move into our new home,” announces Phool.
CASE STUDY Leasehold farming empowers landless farmers
Santaram Harijan is 45 years old and lives in ward no. 8 of Hatibangain VDC in Rupandehi district. He lives in a small thatched hut built in public land with his seven family members. He does not have land to farm. Five years back, Santaram had migrated to India to work as a seasonal labour but returned back to Nepal two years ago to work as a daily wage labourer. He made NRs 60.00 (£0.46) per day, barely sufficient for his family’s needs. As a result of this financial situation, his children have dropped out of school. Ward no. 8 is mainly inhabited by poor and landless dalits (so-called lower caste, untouchable group). The project initiated its activities here in August 2006 by forming a group of seven farmers including Santaram known as ‘Siddhartha Leasehold Group.’ The project has helped this group of seven by providing financial support to lease 14 katthas2 (approx. 4,500 square metres) of land from a local land owner at the rate of NRs 1,000.00 (£8) per kaththa per year.
Apart from financial support, the project has also provided training on improved methods of vegetable cultivation, seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. Further more, treadle pumps to irrigate the land and other inputs such as spray tanks and improved seeds have been supplied. Since August 2006, Santaram has been producing four harvests of vegetables per year. “Initially, I was not convinced as I never cultivated vegetables. Now I am confident that I can support my family through leasehold farming,” he says.
Santaram’s life has changed significantly. He has now leased additional 600 square metres (2 kaththas) of land as riyan3 at NRs 2,000.00 (£15). He has planted rice and wheat. His two sons, who had dropped out of school, are now back in school He has also managed to deposit NRs 6,000.00 (£46) in a bank for his daughter’s engagement. Now, he grows vegetables round the year and with the increased income he has observed changes in his family's livelihoods including improved health.