Kingdom of Nepal
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation
3 years from August 2004 to July 2007
US$1 042 419
Agriculture is the mainstay of the Nepalese economy. It is the principle source of employment to over 80 percent of the population. Although its share in the Gross Domestic Product is gradually declining over the years to stand at about 40 percent at present, it is still the principal source of livelihood to most of the rural population.
To address the problem of widespread rural poverty and to increase the growth rate in agriculture His Majesty’s Government of Nepal is implementing a long-term Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP). The Plan’s strategy is to take advantage of the country’s agro-climatic diversity through regional specialization and intensification of agricultural production. Introduction of suitable technologies and management practices as a package to intensify production is a part of the strategy. While production of cereal grains and industrial crops are proposed for the Tarai, expansion of horticultural and livestock production are proposed for the hills and mountain regions under the APP.
Within this context, trees of Indian Olive (Olea cuspidata) and (Olea glandulifera), wild relatives of European Olive (Olea europaea L.), which is a source of high quality edible oil in the Mediterranean area, are found in the hilly and mountain areas of the mid and far west regions of Nepal. An initial survey of wild olives (carried out by the University ‘La Tuscia’ of Viterbo) showed that they are found in varying degree of intensity in six districts of mid and far west regions. Initial observation based on some grafting work on O. cuspidata with O. europaea L. has shown potential for achieving a satisfactory level of olive production using the former as rootstocks. Based on the experience of the above efforts and the potentials for development of olive, the Government of Nepal requested FAO and the Government of Italy for assistance to introduce olive production in a more systematic way.
Project GCP/NEP/056/ITA is implemented as an integrated agricultural development project. The experience so far indicates that the best results are obtained when olive production activities are integrated with processing at the household levels, combined with promotion of marketing and consumption. For that purpose apart from introducing technologies for olive production and their upkeep the project introduces simple equipments and processing facilities for processing of olive oil in the villages. The other aspect of integration is incorporation of other crops such as beans and pulses in olive plantations.
The project also contributes to the improvement of drinking water supply using nearby natural springs. Lack of clean water is a constraint to the processing of olive oil. Carrying water, collecting fuel wood, and collection of fodder and bedding materials are the tasks that occupy a very large share of rural women’s time. Combining leasehold forestry with olive production and provision of safe drinking water facility will contribute to reallocate and improve women’s available time towards more productive activities.
The project’s overall objective is to enhance the growth of the agriculture sector. The project has three immediate objectives. The first is to establish a functional system for the production and the distribution of olive plants. The second is the development of feasible olive based farming and agroforestry systems through training and workshop. The third objective is to develop a national strategy for promotion of olive production and consumption that defines the role of various stakeholders in place.
The proposed budget allows the project to benefit from international experts (horticulturist, plant protection specialist, oil processing specialist and nutritionist) as well as from national experts. Formal training will be provided to selected officers and technical staff of the government and the Ministry; simultaneously the services of the visiting experts and technicians will be used to provide on the job training to counterpart and field level support staff. The project is implemented in collaboration with the University of ‘La Tuscia’ (Viterbo).
Negotiations for the project’s formulation have been completed and the project document was signed by both FAO and His Majesty’s Government of Nepal in August 2004. Although the very difficult security situation has become an overriding external factor, the signature of the letter of agreement (LoA) between FAO and the University of Tuscia in Italy has also significantly delayed project’s implementation.
In the meantime, the FAO Representation in Nepal, together with the National Project Coordinator, has discussed ways of recruiting a FAO National Project Manager, the necessary equipment needed and the expected schedule for the mission’s inception. After fielding the inception mission, the project plans on preparing a detailed workplan for the first half of 2005.