July 3: A new initiative of the Government of Nepal and UNDP funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is going to benefit 10,000 fruit and vegetable framers improve their income.
Issuing a statement, UNDP said that the new initiative will be implemented in districts adjoining the Pokhara-Kathmandu-Bardibas corridor.
“The project is aimed at raising the incomes of nearly 10,000 smallholder farmers through strengthening the value chain of fruit and vegetable production in the country,” said the press release issued by UNDP. “As part of the project, there will be special focus on production maximization, post-harvest technology development and rollout, and improved market linkage.”
Under the agreement, KOICA will support US$ 5 million and UNDP will contribute US$ 0.5 million respectively for the joint initiative to be implemented in about 40 municipalities in twelve districts in Province 3 and 4, namely Dhading, Kavre, Makawanpur, Chitwan, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Nawalparasi, Tanahun, Gorkha, Kaski, and Syanja until the end of 2022.
The MoU was signed by Dr Hyungkyoo Kim, country director of KOICA Nepal and Renaud Meyer, country director of UNDP. Before that, joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance Shreekrishna Nepal, and the joint secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management, and Cooperatives Tej Subedi signed the project document with the UNDP at a function held at Singha Durbar, Kathmandu on June 26.
The value chain development project focuses on increasing production, reducing post-harvest losses and improving the marketing system for selected fruit and vegetables. Through its efforts, cooperatives and farmers’ groups will have better access to production technology, as well as improved crop production practices. Post-harvest technologies will be developed and transferred to farmers in collaboration with the Nepal Agriculture Research Council, the statement further said.
According to UNDP, support to physical facilities, organizational management and access to market price information will be provided to collection centers and satellite markets to improve market linkages.
The statement noted that marketed volumes of fruit and vegetables are low in Nepal and farmers have limited access to agriculture technology.
"Post-harvest losses are high, with estimates suggesting losses between 10 and 14% for fruit and vegetables. Careless handling of crops during loading and unloading, and lack of storage facilities at collection centres are some contributing factors. In this context, this programme will also help to establish 20 collection centres and satellite markets. The programme will help Nepal achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with a direct contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger)."