Strategy to boost farm sector, improve nutrition introducedThe US government, in partnership with the Agricultural Development and Health ministries, launched a five-year Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) on Friday to boost agricultural productivity and improve nutrition in Nepal.
The US government, in partnership with the Agricultural Development and Health ministries, launched a five-year Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) on Friday to boost agricultural productivity and improve nutrition in Nepal.
The strategy builds on the US government’s ongoing Feed the Future initiative and will support Nepal’s Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) and Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan. Nepal is one of only 12 countries worldwide selected by the US government to implement this strategy. The total cost of the GFSS has not been disclosed.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently running two projects under its Feed the Future initiative—$32.7 million Knowledge-Based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture in Nepal (KISAN II) and $15 million Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Programme. These ongoing projects will be integrated with the border GFSS project once it is fully implemented.
“The new strategy emphasises investments throughout the agriculture value chain to better connect producers to markets, which will improve access to safe, high-quality food and generate income and job opportunities, particularly among youth,” said US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Michael C Gonzales.
Over the next five years, the GFSS will forge new partnerships and greater collaboration among the government, donors, businesses and civil society to accelerate growth and employment in Nepal’s agriculture sector while enhancing nutrition.
As Nepal has endorsed the ADS, a farm blueprint with a 20-year vision and a 10-year planning horizon, and the Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan, the GFSS will play an important role in harnessing the potential of the agricultural sector and increasing incomes of millions of Nepalis, he said.
The ADS that envisages transforming Nepal’s farm sector in the face of common challenges such as climate change, food price volatility, low productivity and water stress was implemented in the last fiscal year.
“Nepal has made impressive strides in reducing hunger and malnutrition over the past two decades. It has set an ambitious goal to graduate from low-income country to middle-income country status by 2030. Hence, the policy goals of the ADS and Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan highlight priorities to address hunger, malnutrition and poverty,” said Gonzales.
“Through the GFSS, we want to maximize the impact to improve the livelihood of the people, particularly targeting disadvantaged communities, women and young people in the agriculture sector.”
Nepal has held on to the top position among South Asian countries in the campaign to reduce hunger.
According to the 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Nepal experienced rapid improvements in
reducing hunger and is nearing the ‘moderate’ from the ‘serious’ category, largely due to declines in undernourishment, child stunting and child mortality.
Agriculture Secretary Suroj Pokhrel said that the GFSS would strengthen small holders and marginalized farming communities with higher incomes.
The US government claimed that over the past five years, the Feed the Future initiative in Nepal had helped an estimated 1 million Nepalis to increase income through improved agricultural productivity and enhanced nutrition.
As a result, poverty dropped by 36 percent between 2013 and 2015, stunting decreased from 49 percent to 36 percent from 2006 to 2016, and average farmer sales increased from $250 per year to an estimated $700 per year in the 24 south-western and central districts where the US programme has been implemented, the US Embassy said.