USAID launches 5-year $32.7m Kisan II project

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 31, 2017-

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched Kisan II with the aim of facilitating the value chain of farm products of Nepal’s rural areas. The $32.7 million project will be implemented for the next five years in 20 districts. 

The USAID funded project to be implemented by Winrock International has targeted helping local farmers produce greater climate-smart intensification of staple crops and diversification into higher-value commodities. 

As per USAID, strengthening of local market systems to support more competitive and resilient value chains and agriculture related business are another objective of Kisan II. Likewise, the project has also considered improving and enabling the environment for agricultural and market systems development. 

Speaking at a programme on Tuesday, US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Michael C Gonzales said that the project had targeted supporting the entire value chain from the farm to the dinner table. “The project’s objective is to ensure the supply of fresh and delicious cuisine prepared from high quality farm products produced at the local level,” said Gonzales. 

Kisan II is the extended edition of Kisan I that the US Government agency had enforced in 16 districts previously. Kisan I is said to have benefitted 100,000 farmers from six districts each in the Far Western Region and Mid-Western Region and four districts in the Western Region. The additional four districts where Kisan II is being implemented are Sindhupalchok, Makwanpur, Nuwakot and Kavrepalanchok, the districts devastated by the April 12 earthquake. 

According to USAID, the running project has tried to develop the supply of high value products in the entire value chain that includes farmers, hoteliers, wholesalers and retailers. Amid rising concern at the overuse of chemicals in farm products, the project has aimed to promote organic products in the production of rice, lentils, vegetables and dairy products. 

Similarly, it has aimed to generate jobs through the promotion of agricultural businesses.

Chargé d’Affaires Gonzales said Nepal should target promoting niche products such as cardamom and ginger among others from the local level to a global business. “For the purpose, Nepal should transform from supplying unprocessed goods to processed ones besides ensuring a consistent supply in the global market.”

In a partnership spanning over seven decades, the US Government has been supporting Nepal in various sectors including the improvement of agricultural productivity. Kisan II has targeted to benefit 300,000 farmers apart from other concerned.

Speaking at an interaction, Suraj Vaidya, past president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said there was a need to change the mindset to find new export destinations instead of just relying on the traditional markets. “The government needs to provide incentives to promote innovative farm products and commercial farming,” Vaidya said. 

Birendra Bahadur Basnet, board member of Nepal Krishi Company, said business enterprises needed to support farmers who wished to engage in commercial farming. “Business enterprises can help in land pooling and provide farmers a share of the benefits received from the farm,” Basnet said. 

Published: 31-08-2017 08:43

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