Agriculture plays an important role in Nepal’s economy, but the country’s small-scale producers face many challenges. Access to quality inputs, decent roads, irrigation and markets is patchy. Natural disasters destroy crops, while livestock diseases threaten a key food and income source – as well as public health. FAO is working to help build the resilience of Nepal’s rural communities to future shocks by assisting farmers to produce fresh and nutritious food and by strengthening the country’s ability to control the spread of infectious animal diseases.
Restoring agricultural production
Most people in rural Nepal, a country recovering from a decade-long conflict, survive by growing food on tiny plots of land or raising animals. When a natural disaster strikes, like the severe winter drought in 2008/2009 or landslides in 2011, it can really impact on the food and nutrition security of farmers and herders. FAO has been working to ensure that families affected by such disasters do not miss a season by improving their access to locally adapted cereal and vegetable seeds, fertilizers, live animals, veterinary supplies and training on good cropping and husbandry techniques.
Controlling animal diseases
An outbreak of a disease like Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) can have serious consequences for a country’s food security and public health – and those of its neighbours. That is why early detection, accurate information and prompt action are so crucial. FAO, through its Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases, seeks to strengthen Nepal’s capacity to control the spread of HPAI and other emerging infectious diseases. It is training field veterinary staff to be better prepared in the event of an outbreak and to respond quickly and appropriately to emergencies. Through a regional project based in Nepal, it is working to improve coordination and collaboration to prevent and control animal diseases in eight South Asian countries.
Responding better to food insecurity
How many people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition in a country, where, to what degree, why – this is vital information for decision-makers. Rigorous analysis based on evidence enables them to pinpoint and respond to food and nutrition needs in a timely and strategic manner, and also to reduce risks. To this end, FAO has introduced the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification in Nepal – a set of standardized tools aimed at determining the scale and severity of food insecurity in the country. It is now working to strengthen the country’s capacity to be better prepared for and to respond more efficiently to such emergencies.