Kathmandu, 19 December 2019 – Rural development projects financed and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have contributed to increased agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Nepal, according to a new report presented today.
The report, prepared by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Nepal over the past seven years (2013 -2019), covering eight projects for a total cost of US$206.7 million. The evaluation report highlights achievements as well as issues that still need to be addressed.
“We are determined to continue supporting the government in its efforts to improve food and nutrition security for rural families, while building on lessons learned to improve the impact of our efforts,” said Donal Brown, IFAD Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department.
Over the past decades, farm fragmentation and low crop productivity has endangered the economic viability of traditional farming systems in Nepal. According to the report’s findings, IFAD has helped increase the productivity of small farms by focusing on improved production of high-value crops, such as spices, off-season vegetables, fruits, cereal and dairy products. For example, over 83 per cent of the beneficiaries of the IFAD-supported High Value Agriculture Project in Hill and Mountain Areas in Karnali Province reported increased productivity of high-value crops due to the use of quality seeds, improved farm management practices and better irrigation systems.
“The results of the evaluation give us further evidence that supporting producers in developing high-value agricultural products that correspond to market needs can help them to generate a profit. Also, improving market infrastructure and producers’ access to markets leads to improved outcomes,” said Brown.
“Linking smallholder farmers with buyers, retailers, and other actors in the value chain was an important step to improving farmers’ economic opportunities,” added Fabrizio Felloni, IOE Deputy Director.
One of the evaluation recommendations is to support local governments in promoting rural development, including local infrastructure and economic opportunities. In rural areas, there are challenges in working with isolated communities due to the underdeveloped infrastructure.
“The evaluation raises an important question for IFAD’s future work in Nepal. We are asking ourselves how IFAD can improve livelihoods in the most remote rural communities, given that they are even less connected to markets,” said Oscar Garcia, IOE Director. According to the evaluation report, this question should be part of IFAD’s new country strategy for Nepal.
The evaluation concluded that, looking ahead, IFAD should expand its initiatives, in synergy with partners for specialized technical support in crucial areas such as value chain development.
Press release No.: IFAD/56/2019
IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) conducts evaluations of IFAD-financed policies, strategies and operations to promote accountability and learning. The main purpose is to contribute to improving IFAD's and its partners' performance in reducing rural poverty in recipient countries. IOE's independent evaluations assess the impact of IFAD-funded activities and give an analysis of successes and shortcomings – to tell it the way it is – as well as identify factors affecting performance. Based on the key insights and recommendations drawn from evaluation findings, IOE also shares IFAD’s knowledge and experience in agriculture and rural development with a wider audience.