Nepal: Common Appeal for Transition Support 2008
Nepal is one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries. Nearly one-quarter of its population lives on less than US$1 per day. Coping with the impact of conflict for over a decade, the people of Nepal also contend with the frequent recurrence of natural disasters, such as widespread flooding and consecutive years of drought.
Without sufficient assistance, the coping capacity of vulnerable families continues to diminish alongside their productive assets. Nutrition indicators are alarming. Reports reveal that 40 percent of the overall population suffers from undernourishment. The prevelance of these numbers dramatically increases in conflict-affected areas, such as the mountainous areas of Mid- and Far-Western Nepal, where 48 to 75 percent of the local population are undernourished. Nepalese children under the age of five are highly prone to nutrition-related sickness, with malnutrition soaring among infants between 6 and 12 months old.
Nearly every other child in Nepal suffers from stunted growth. With agriculture as the mainstay of Nepal’s rural economy and a means to sustainably improve household nutrition and food security, rehabilitation of the agriculture sector will be paramount to recovery throughout the country. Against this background and the current post-conflict scenario, the Government of Nepal requested the assistance and expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support food security and livelihood development efforts.
As part of the United Nations and Partners Nepal Common Appeal for Transition 2008, FAO is appealing for US$1 980 000, through twoproject proposals.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
In Nepal, agriculture is the primary source of employment and, for many, it provides the basis for household food security. Approximately 76 percent of the population partially derives their livelihood from agriculture-related activities. A food security assessment undertaken by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) together with the Government of Nepal in March/April 2007 revealed that 42 out of 75 districts are food deficient, while over one-third of districts fall below the minimum food security requirements.
Years of conflict and recurrent natural disasters in Nepal have depleted rural assets, such as farming equipment, crops, adequate market linkages and infrastructure. Over the past three years, the country has been affected by floods, drought, landslides and hailstorms. Rural communities are in urgent need of high quality production inputs, including livestock, seeds, fertilizers and agricultural tools, selected based on region-specific needs.
FAO in Nepal
FAO has been actively involved in the development of the agriculture sector in Nepal for over three decades. In view of the Government’s peace-building efforts and the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections in April 2008, humanitarian efforts are critical at this time to address food insecurity.
The goal of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Programme in Nepal is to improve the population’s food security and nutrition through the resumption of traditional agriculture and livestock production while enhancing knowledge and awareness of good nutritional practices.
- FAO’s main objectives in Nepal are to assist the country’s most food-insecure and vulnerable populations through:
- providing rapid relief assistance to enhance the food security and nutritional status of vulnerable families;
- boosting agricultural production at the household level through the distribution of essential inputs;
- rehabilitating essential agricultural infrastructure and services; and
- enhancing the capacity of rural farmers to raise livestock and improve staple crop production.