EU in partnership with Practical Action aims to boost rural livelihoods in 5 districts of Nepal
Practical Action together with the EU launched BICAS (Building Inclusive and Sustainable Growth Capacity of CSOs in Agriculture and forest Sectors). The total budget of the project is 2 million euro.
Launching the program, chief Guest Vijaya Bahadhur Kunwar, Member of National Planning Commission (NPC) said, “Practical Action’s BICAS project is being implemented in chronically food insecure regions of Nepal. The project can complement Government of Nepal’s agenda of Right to food as peoples’ fundamental right by enabling CSOs towards that end; specially at the time when the government is prioritizing development of far west and other food insecure regions of the nation.”
Andreas Roettger, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nepal said,"Karnali region is amongst the most stunning, with an amazing natural beauty. At the same time living conditions there are very harsh for many. The EU is looking forward that BICAS demonstrates practical ways to enhance livelihood opportunities in this part of Nepal."
Narayan Prasad Kafle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Dr. Bamshi Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Livestock Development and Dr. Yubak Dhoj GC, Director General, Department of Agriculture Development also expressed their views.
Chaired by South Asia Regional Director of Practical Action Achyut Luitel, Representatives from government bodies, diplomatic missions, I/NGOs, media, among others attended the program.
BICAS operates in 5 districts in the far and mid-west regions of Nepal: Kalikot, Mugu, Jumla, Bajura and Bajhang. These districts are amongst those with the highest level of poverty with average 46 per cent population living below the national poverty line. Increasing food insecurity in the region has resulted in high migration of around 25 per cent of the male population. The situation has further worsened due to increased climate change impacts mainly on existing cropping system and productivity. Livelihood of people in the Karnali region with below 2 per cent arable land mainly depends on agriculture, Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) collection, wage labor and remittance.
Nepal is a predominantly agrarian country with a very diverse nature of exceptional beauty where mountains and hilly areas cover 64% of the territory. This brings with it a unique set of challenges. Nepal's vision and aspiration to develop and to reach middle income status by 2030 can only be achieved with a specific focus on rural areas, including the disadvantaged remote places. Rural development is a focal area of EU-Nepal cooperation and it includes initiatives to foster cohesion, i.e. helping those areas which are lagging behind.
In this challenging context BICAS aims to stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth through better livelihood opportunities. The project will enhance economic infrastructure by promotion of 5Gravity Goods Ropeways (GGR), promotion of irrigation infrastructure including 5 irrigation canals, 10 Multi-use water System, 25 pond irrigation canals and other micro-irrigation technologies such as Thai jars, sprinkler and drip, processing infrastructure and market infrastructure. The project also focuses on pro-poor value chains by promoting four subsectors: spices, vegetables, NTFPs and goats. It includes, better business linkages, enhanced entrepreneurship skills of rural farmers and local traders, business networking and business development service provision to facilitate commercial/urban value chain actors to make their business services accessible to rural areas.
The BICAS project initiated in February 2016 in Kalikot, Mugu, Jumla, Bajura and Bajhang Districts of Nepal and will continue until January 2019. The project co-funded by the European Union aims to enhance Civil Society Organizations CSOs’ contribution to governance and development of agriculture and forest based economic sectors in Nepal. Out of €2,000,681 total project cost, the EU contribution is € 1,500,000. Specifically, the project focuses on building the capacity of 45 CSOs to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and increase income of 7000 HHs from agriculture and forest based enterprises in project districts.
BICAS is designed to build institutional capacity of the local non-state actors for inclusive and sustainable growth. BICAS’s intervention aim to bring about increased access of rural population to resilient, light and innovative infrastructure for economic activities, strengthened inclusive and pro-poor value chain of rural agro and forest based enterprises and NTFP, developed technical and entrepreneurial capacity and disaster risk reduction skills of local farmers, Improved capacity of CSOs in development and promotion of disaster resilient infrastructures, new income generating activities, and climate smart agricultural practices and enabled environment for CSOs to constructively engage with local governments and other development actors for better governance.
BICAS also embeds successful experiences from the EU funded food security project, POSAN Food Security, which is underway in Bajhang, Bajura, Doti and Achham. POSAN enhanced in the project districts agrovet and various extension services like goat Resource Centers for breed services to strengthen market chains. It also developed collection centers/hat bazaar and linked them to urban market actor to increases access to rewarding markets. Due to better market linkages and business services the volume of goat business have doubled while the vegetable production and marketing increased by three fold over the period of 2 years