In the Mid- and Far- West regions of Nepal, 37% of people are below the poverty line compared to the national average of 25.16%, yields of major crops are typically 25% below the national average, and consumption of animal products, such as meat and eggs, is among the lowest in the world. Chronic maternal and child malnutrition is a serious problem, with malnutrition and stunting affecting about half of the nation’s children. The prevalence of hunger is also the highest in the South Asia region – in these remote areas, food availability and access is largely dependent on local production, yet productivity is one of the lowest in the region and barely enough to meet needs. Natural disasters, often triggered by extreme weather events, significantly impact agricultural productivity and livelihoods.
The Agriculture and Food Security Project (AFSP) enhanced the food and nutrition security of vulnerable communities in specific areas of Nepal by increasing food availability and increasing productivity of crops and livestock. AFSP worked to improve nutrition security through improved feeding practices, the promotion of diversified diets, and the improvement of feeding and care practices for pregnant and nursing women and children up to two years of age. It supported nutrition-sensitive agricultural activities including the generation and adaptation of technology to increase yields and production intensities of nutritious crops and fish for farmers. Specific nutrition activities were supported to promote behavior change through community-based nutrition programs to improve dietary intake.
- World Bank
AFSP reached 656,245 poor people, surpassing the end target of 560,000. Approximately 603,000 women benefited from the project, surpassing the end target of impacting around 392,000 women. The project was rated Moderately Satisfactory by the World Bank, which noted that the project was Satisfactory in terms of achieving its development objectives. The project exceeded all of its performance targets including the release of 30 technologies (target = 29), conducting 6,580 field trials (target = 4,000), 583 metric tons of source seeds produced (target = 540 metric tons). A increased yield of over 100 percent was reported in all crops (paddy = 180 percent, wheat = 124 percent, maize = 122 percent, potato = 112 percent, goat meat = 105 percent, eggs = 251 percent, milk (cow and buffalo) = 111 percent), and improved dietary intake for women and children (89 percent of pregnant/nursing women meeting minimum required animal protein intake from a baseline of 56 percent, 78 percent of pregnant/nursing women meeting required fruits and vegetable intake from a baseline of 57 percent, 80 percent of children 6-24 months meeting the infant and young child feeding indicators from a baseline of 42 percent.Some lessons include the following. In the context of countries such as Nepal, rural women should be targeted as a priority on two counts. First, men are migrating out of the country and women need to replace them. Second, for some tasks, women are more productive than men. The strong focus on women farmers under AFSP contributed to high productivity increases, especially for livestock production. Given this, more women should have been engaged in the implementation and management capacity to deliver the various activities. Further, climate resilience of production systems needs to consider local circumstances and be rooted into the social fabric at the grassroots level. Future operations should develop a clear, forward-looking plan to ensure the sustainability of farmers’ and women’s’ groups and the sustainability of activities that may have relied too heavily on the distribution of external and costly inputs and equipment.
Official Project Documents:
- World Bank Project Appraisal Document (2013)
- World Bank Implementation Completion and Results Report (2018)
- GAFSP Proposal and Cover Letter with Endorsements
- Sector Strategy: Agriculture and Food Security Strategy and Geographic Distribution of Food Insecurity Sector Investment Plan
- Validation Workshop: Endorsements, Participant List Biratnagar, Participant List Butwal, Participant List Kathmandu, and Participant List Nepaljung