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NEPAL


Meena Giri, member of the Samjhana Farmers’ Collective “Our economic situation was not good. It was difficult for us to even feed our children or send them to school. We’re able to send our children to good schools now, can build concrete houses for ourselves and don’t have to take loans from others.”


SECTOR: AGRICULTURE PROJECT NAME: EFFICIENT LAND MANAGEMENT FOR SOCIOECONOMIC ENHANCEMENT IN SOUTHERN NEPAL FINANCING TYPE: GRANTS (2012, 2014) PARTNER: MULTIDIMENSIONAL RESOURCE CENTER (MRC NEPAL) SITE VISIT: HETAUDA AND CHITWAN


An innovative, non-profit committed to sustainable community development, MRC Nepal helped some 7,000 marginalized female farmers increase their incomes and skillsets with this project, which enabled the women to cultivate previously unutilized, flood-affected land, adopt more sustainable farming practices, pool resources and negotiate better market conditions, driving economic growth and reducing poverty in the region. MRC Nepal CEO Bharat Bahadur Khadka


(below) told us: “We are demand driven and work from the bottom up, keeping a low profile and never imposing a program. We assess on-the-ground reality: what are the farmers’ needs and what is the potential? Our training is based on practical knowledge and learning by doing. Our biggest challenge is that our resources are


limited. We are desperately in need of additional funding to meet the number of requests for our assistance.” Khadka invited us to visit one of the communities OFID’s grants supported and hear from the women themselves. The Samjhana Farmers’ Collective in Hetauda


treated us to a tour of their bountiful fields, which they plant in rotation – rice, then maize, then vegetables – across four seasons. They were busy harvesting beans, eggplant, tomatoes and cucumbers, which currently command good market prices. Commissions paid to middlemen at collection centers in the past often eliminated any hope of profits, according to the women. They also lamented the lack of maintenance funds for an irrigation canal that’s located far uphill from their fields, explaining their husbands often incur injuries as a result of carrying heavy stones required for repairs.


Sita Aryal, Secretary of the Samjhana Farmers’ Collective “Thanks to support from OFID, we were able to form a savings cooperative. Our members save 50 Rupees a month. I also learned office work and file-keeping. I could not speak to people like this before. I became more confident, am able to wear decent clothes, welcome guests into my house and feed them. This is the change this project has brought.”


12


Jamuna Rumba,


member of the Samjhana Farmers’ Collective


“We’re doing well with organic farming; using organic compost and


fertilizers. We didn’t know about different ways of


farming before, and lost a lot of vegetables. We no longer use harmful pesticides, and plastic mulch has proven beneficial against pests and weeds. ”


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