Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project- ANEP

Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project- ANEP

Creating new livelihood opportunities in rural Nepal

Farmers were growing small amounts of vegetables for subsistence: they were unaware of growing for commercial purposes, and they lacked access to technologies, farm inputs, and technical know-how. We overcame this by organising farmers into groups linked to collection centres, and training them in innovative techniques needed to grow large yields of high-quality vegetables for sale.

Khadga Gurung, ANEP Field Team Leader

CONTEXT

The flatlands of Nepal are geographically remote, isolated from markets and subject to climatic extremes – making agriculture a hazardous, though vital livelihood. In Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Surkhet and Rukum Districts, poor access to improved agricultural technologies and markets makes it difficult for farmers to earn a living, and many do not have enough nutritious food to eat. Food insecurity in these areas has a disproportionate impact on women and children. Malnutrition restricts children's cognitive and development potential, with long-term - often irreversible - social consequences.

OBJECTIVES

  • To improve the food security and nutrition of the poorest and most vulnerable households in both rural and urban areas.
  • To improve the food security and nutrition of smallholders by introducing and facilitating the adoption of productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture technologies which improve livelihoods.
  • To contribute to improving market linkages to improve food and nutritional security of both rural producers and urban consumers.

RESULTS

  • 21 209 households reached
  • Increase in food security - from 4.6 months to 11 months
  • Increase in percentage of households putting at least two improved nutritional practices into use from 34% to 97%
  • Increase in average annual household income by €400
  • Decrease in prevalence of underweight in children under the age of 2 from 37.5% to 17% among 6 000 households that received health/nutrition training
  • Increase in farmer households linked to local service providers from 3% to 65%

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Households are from areas with high rates of poverty and food insecurity, primarily from the disadvantaged Dalit, Muslim, Tharu and Madeshi communities.
  • Over 60% of ANEP farmers come from disadvantaged ethnic/caste groups and over 60% of ANEP trained people are women.
  • ANEP farmers on average have less than 0.5 ha of land and are primarily subsistence farmers and labourers and are unable to meet the basic needs of their families.

TESTIMONY

Laxmi Tharu, a mother of four, took it upon herself to transform the fortune of her family.

Laxmi's husband was working in the Middle East, sending some money every month to support the family.

"I was living with my in-laws together with my four children. I had no decision-making power in the family. Every month, my husband sent USD 110 to my father-in-law. Most of the money went to pay for the education of my children."

"When the project first came to our village development committee, the project officers approached me because they knew about me through my social work. When they told me about the project, I was really interested because I thought I could get some technical knowledge and skills in agriculture and maybe find a way to make a living from it. After discussing the issue with my husband on the telephone, I decided to join the project."

"I communicated with the project staff and then helped them organize a group meeting in my village development committee. As the project focuses on aquaculture, all the members were supposed to have a pond so I started cleaning up the old pond that was never used. My children helped me. I prepared the dike according to project specifications and planted vegetables", recalled Laxmi.

With this Laxmi started culturing fish and growing vegetables and people started to take notice. "They began to realize that I had the technical knowledge and skills to do aquaculture and dike cropping. This made me feel confident and happy."

From an overgrown pond sitting idle, Laxmi with the right knowledge and support was able to take control over her and her family's life. She is now an example to others in her community with the village development committee appointing her a trainer on fisheries.