The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commemorated its almost three-year partnership with the Government of Nepal and the private sector to foster economic growth and improve food security. Since 2010, this partnership, through the USAID-funded Nepal Economic, Agriculture, and Trade (NEAT) Project, has sought to improve the country’s business environment; strengthen fiscal and trade policies; encourage competitiveness and exports of tea, ginger, lentils, and coffee; enhance food security; and increase access to financial services.
NEAT worked with more than 75,000 households in 32 districts of Nepal, improving the lives of 560,000 people during the period.USAID’s NEAT project. According to the press release of Public Affairs SectionEmbassy of The United States, the projectworked with 20 private firms and almost 67,000 farmers, increasing farmer sales by $26.5 million, with another $10 million in incremental farmer sales projected for the summer of 2013.
The project also facilitated the disbursement of more than $3.67 million in rural loans by financial sector partners, creating much-needed cash flow in local economies and supporting small-businesses. It helped more than 19,000 rural customers find new access to formal financial services through either new bank branches or mobile financial service.
Along with supporting other sector, it also supported the Government of Nepal to analyze 40 policies and administrative reforms, of which nine are already being implemented, including tax payments through the Any Bank Branching System (ABBS), new seed registration process, revised custom’s valuation procedures, and a data link between the Office of Company Registrar and the Inland Revenue Department.
Speaking at the closing event, Ms. Sheila Lutjens, USAID/Nepal Acting Mission Director remarked, “Advancing economic growth must be a sustained, prioritized effort because it benefits everyone—every political party, civil society and the private sector, and rich and poor Nepalis in cities and in rural areas.”
Implemented by Chemonics with Fintrac, CEAPRED, METCON, Making Cents, Kaizen, WOCAN, Land O’ Lakes, and numerous invaluable Nepali partners, the project has built the capacity of more than 40 local organizations, including financial service institutions, business service providers, and private firms, to implement key economic growth and food security efforts.
USAID will continue the successes, best practices, and efforts of NEAT’s agriculture work through the recently launched, five-year Knowledge-based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition (KISAN) project. KISAN will work in close collaboration with new Government of Nepal programs in the mid-and-far west regions to improve food security, increase income, and diversify diets for about one million rural Nepalis.