From fisheries to community forestry and livestock and vegetable to cereal food products, FAO has made immense contributions in modernizing Nepal’s farms and forests over the last six decades. As the organization mainly provides technical support, the people, however, rarely realize the involvement of FAO in the overall development of Nepal.
Along with work to increase agriculture productivity and speed commercialization of farming, FAO has also supported creation of markets for farmers. Although it remains invisible in the routine media coverage, no one can ignore FAO’s contributions towards helping Nepal achieve food security.
FAO’s role has been expanding. As Nepal’s agriculture sector modernizes, new challenges have appeared from time to time. The overuse of pesticide is a growing concern in Nepal. That is where FAO has been providing technical support to Nepal, helping it minimize the adverse effects of pesticides in human health and environment.
FAO has also been supporting policy assistance for food security in Nepal. As the number of farmers involved in the poultry sector has drastically increased in Nepal, with its poultry population growing by 55 percent from 53 million to 82 million between 2010 to 2013, FAO has given related training to farmers. At a time when poultry density is intensifying and new poultry producers without training and experiences are entering into the business, this support has become valuable in alerting farmers on outbreak of diseases, such as Avian influenza.
Since Nepal has already declared that there will be zero hunger by 2025, FAO is supporting Nepal to address the challenges through The National Action Plan 2025 Initiative in Nepal. According to Country Program Framework 2013-2017, there are four priority areas for technical cooperation. The first priority area is food and nutrition followed by institutional and policy support, market orientation and competitiveness and natural resources conservation and utilization, including adaptation to climate change.
As FAO has been actively supporting Nepal in various sectors, its country office organized a media workshop to share the organization’s priority areas in Nepal.
“FAO is a very technical organization and it has been working closely with various stakeholders in agriculture and forestry as Nepal has been facing a chronic food deficit with food security fluctuation in 36 districts,” said Dr. B.K.P Shah, team leader of FAO.
Although Nepal has seen a drastic reduction of poverty level in the last decade, stunting is still rampant in the country, particularly in the far west and mid-west regions.
“Forty-three percent of population are suffering from stunting. We are yet to address the issue of nutrition. The hill districts are suffering from both nutrition and food security related problems,” said Shah.
At a time when Nepal is facing crisis in food and nutrition, FAO is launching integrated program in 19 food deficit districts targeting women, and children up to 24 months.
“As agriculture is the mainstay of Nepal, it is important for the uplift of livelihood of the Nepalese people. FAO continues to support the government of Nepal to make Nepal food secure,” said Dr. Somask Pipoppinyo, country representative of FAO. “FAO has been working with different stakeholders. FAO’s Country Programming Framework 2013-2017 has made our direction clear.”
FAO has also been supporting Nepal’s effort to reduce hunger to zero by 2025, supporting Towards Zero Hunger Challenges Initiative National Action Plan 2025.
“We share technology and expertise with Nepal government to improve the productivity and diversification of Nepal’s agriculture system,” said FAO’s country representative Dr. Pipoppinyo.
Presenting the on-ongoing initiative of FAO in Nepal, Dr. Binod Shah, AFOAR, said the implementation of the CPF is very important. “We want partnership as broad as possible and in alignment with the joint efforts of Nepal government and development partners for enhanced coordination.”
Ram Babu Shah, national information officer of UNIC, said, “UN organizations are open and transparent. We are ready to provide all kinds of information required by media.”
At a time when Nepal is in the process of increasing productivity to end hunger and nutrition deficiency, FAO’s technical support is valuable and important. FAO has supported Nepal all these years and its continuing support is expected to enable Nepal in achieving its objectives.