The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $70 million of financing to improve the livelihood and climate resilience of horticulture farmers in the hilly areas of five Nepalese provinces.
It is part of ADB’s overall efforts to address potential risks on food insecurity. The project will boost the productivity of 30,000 farmer households in Bagmati, Gandaki, Karnali, Province 1, and Sudurpaschchim. This will mainly be achieved through the development of around 10,000 hectares of climate-resilient fruit and nut orchards.
Fruit and nut demand in Nepal is increasing due to urbanization, rising domestic wealth, an improved focus of nutrition and tourism. However, horticulture productivity has been declining. A growing portion of cultivated land in hilly areas has been abandoned from farming as people are shifting to other employment and relying on remittances from abroad. The high climate vulnerability in lower hills and mid mountains also reduces farmers’ livelihood options.
ADB Senior Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist for South Asia, Sunae Kim: “ADB’s loan will support the government’s push to revive horticulture farming in hilly areas of Nepal, highlighted in its declaration of 2016–2026 as the ‘Fruit Decade. Aside from filling the gap between domestic supply and demand, higher profits expected from commercial fruit and nut farming could also help retain the younger population in the agriculture sector and offer income opportunities for women who are heading households after male outmigration.”