Making markets work for the poor

Archive content: please note, this page refers to historic work. Read about our current work in markets and food security in Nepal.

Practical Action Nepal's "Making Markets Work" programme (Aim 2) worked with smallholder farmers to help increase access to established markets. It supported poor communities by making market work for them and by exploring a participatory and systemic market development approach to reduce vulnerability and secure livelihoods by applying technology for better production and networking skills to engage effectively in fairer markets.

The agricultural sector engages around 80 per cent of the national labour force, but the agricultural extension and outreach service, and input supply and marketing networks have suffered as a result of the decade-long conflict in Nepal. This has resulted in a rapid deterioration both of the agricultural sector as a whole and the livelihood of those dependent upon it.

In this area Practical Action aimed to contribute towards achieving lasting peace through peace building initiatives concentrating on a people centred production, processing and market development approach.

During the strategic period 2007-12 we aimed to help 52,000 people from six conflict-affected districts to minimise the negative impacts of conflict through involvement in market and livelihood activities.

Read more about our project work

Markets and livelihoods

  • Improving the livelihoods of society's most disadvantaged groups (for example, disabled people, and those affected by HIV/AIDS) through production, processing and marketing;
  • Increasing the productivity of small-scale businesses;
  • Improving the access of poor people to the resources, support and infrastructure they need to build their livelihoods
  • Advocating for policy changes that enable poor people to access and benefit from markets

The need for small, rural industries for processing and preservation of food crops is widely felt. Simple, effective and appropriate methods of food production and agro-processing and their link to the market can bring a wide range of benefits to poor rural men and women. Most importantly, these kinds of products can find wider markets, often in urban centres, bringing opportunities for cash income to small entrepreneurs and helping to create employment in rural areas.

Practical Action works to enable poor people to use technologies to build secure livelihoods, through improved systems of production, processing and marketing by:

In Nepal, over 85 percent of the population live in rural areas and depend on subsistence agriculture for their living. For the last twenty years, agriculture productivity has been in continuous decline. More than 16 out of 75 districts face acute food shortages every year. Present technological interventions in food production and agro-processing in rural Nepal are inadequate. Food production itself is minimal due to poor agricultural productivity, and a formidable amount of harvested produce is lost due to the lack of post-harvest, storage and processing technologies.

In this context, Practical Action Nepal works to enable poor people to increase agricultural productivity by effective use of factors of production; to gain access to agro-processing technologies and markets; and develop and promote entrepreneurship by providing technical and vocational skills to poor women and men.

Practical Action Nepal is promoting the use of food production, agro and non-timber forest products processing technologies in rural areas by developing, transferring and providing improved technologies, knowledge and skills on the full cycle of production, processing and marketing. Many technologies introduced by Practical Action Nepal are becoming popular in the rural areas. Recently, Practical Action Nepal is scaling up technologies such as, sasto (low-cost) solar dryer, hydraulic oil press and herb distillation units in the various parts of the country. Practical Action Nepal is disseminating knowledge and skills to process various fruits, vegetables, NTFPs and other agricultural products. It is also working to link small producers with the local and national market. This has contributed to small enterprise development and employment and income generation at the local level.

ARCHIVE: List of completed Practical Action market and livelihood projects in Nepal

Archive content: please note, this page refers to historic work. Read about our current work in markets and food security in Nepal.

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