Lift Business: Fight Hunger and Improve Nutrition
The Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project, funded by the European Union started in December 2011 and is having a catalytic, long term impact on the income, food security and nutritional status of 20,000 poor households living in the lowlands of Nepal.
It should be considered as best practice based on its incredible impact: (1) poor farmers have increased average annual incomes from 25 to 175 euros - double the target (2) vulnerable farming families have increased the number of food secure months from just 4.6 to 10 months and (3) the prevalence of underweight children has decreased from 37.5% to 32% - a significant drop in a short time.
ANEP's business-based approach has sustainability in-built: local grass-roots institutions and enterprises will continue to support farmers after the project, underpinning the gains made in food security, nutrition and income. The EU, government, stakeholders are adopting the ANEP approach.
iDE UK - United KingdomLead applicant
International Development Enterprises (iDE) is an international family of organisations with members in the UK, USA, Canada and across the developing world. Its mission to create income and livelihood opportunities for the rural poor. iDE has thirty-two years market-based expertise in Africa, Asia and Latin America and a proven track record of taking innovations to scale through the private sector, making a significant difference to global poverty. Since founding, iDE’s agriculture innovations have increased the incomes and improved the lives of over 20 million small-scale family farmers living in poverty. Over the last fifteen years iDE has used its market-based experience to develop water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) innovations that have helped prevent disease and illness for poor rural customers in Asia and increasingly in Africa, enabling them to lead healthier, more productive lives. In Cambodia in two years iDE facilitated the sale of over 100,000 affordable and unsubsidised latrines to poor rural customers using the private sector as the exclusive channel for delivery and facilitated the sale of 350,000 water purifying filters through the market.
International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management also known as The WorldFish Center - MalaysiaInitiative partner
WorldFish, a member of the CGIAR Consortium, is an international, nonprofit research organization. CGIAR is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by the 15 centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector. WorldFish is committed to meeting two key development challenges: 1) improving the livelihoods of those who are especially poor and vulnerable in places where fisheries and aquaculture can make a difference and 2) achieving large scale, environmentally sustainable, increases in supply and access to fish at affordable prices for poor consumers in developing countries. To meet these challenges WoldFish's research focuses on generating and synthesizing knowledge which we then share and help apply. From new syntheses and analysis to targeted, on the ground delivery and knowledge sharing, WF's technologies, products and services help to make development happen while learning how to do it better. With more than 353 scientists and staff based in 8 countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific we work in more than 19 countries around the world. Currently our regional or country offices are in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Malawi, Malaysia (HQ), Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Zambia. WorldFish’s mission touches the lives of millions of people whose lives and livelihoods depend on fish. WF are proud of their role in reducing poverty and increasing food and nutrition security through fisheries and aquaculture.
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center - MexicoInitiative partner
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is the world’s premier center for research, development, and training in maize and wheat and in farming systems for those two essential food crops. From its headquarters in Mexico and offices throughout the developing world, the center works with partners worldwide to reduce poverty and hunger by sustainably increasing the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems. CIMMYT maintains one of the world’s largest and most diverse maize and wheat seed collections and is best known for work leading to the Green Revolution—the widespread adoption of improved crop varieties and farming practices that saved millions of lives across Asia and for which CIMMYT’s Dr. Norman Borlaug was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium and receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks, and other public and private agencies. CIMMYT exists to deliver the best seed, agronomy, and agricultural research to farmers in the developing world. As each farm is unique, CIMMYT has created a mix of products and services, or tools, for farmers.
ANEP IS HAVING A CATALYTIC, LONG TERM IMPACT ON THE INCOME, FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF 20,000 HOUSEHOLDS (Or 120,000 PEOPLE) LIVING IN THE LOWLANDS OF NEPAL. ITS IMPRESSIVE IMPACT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED THROUGH FOCUSING ON THE NEEDS OF THOSE WHO ARE MOST DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTED BY FOOD INSECURITY AND LACK OF A NUTRITIOUS DIET: WOMEN AND CHILDREN. FOR ANEP, SUCCESS IS DRIVEN BY A INNOVATIVE, HOLISTIC APPROACH WHICH FOCUSES ON: • SCALING UP ‘GAME-CHANGING’ TECHNOLOGIES SUSTAINABLY THROUGH STRENGTHENING MARKET SYSTEMS • DRIVING GREATER ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOODS AND BETTER NUTRITION CHOICES FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES • EMPOWERING GRASS-ROOTS INSTITUTIONS and enterprises TO SECURE GAINS IN FOOD SECURITY FOR POOR AND VULNERABLE FAMILIES • The EU, Government and Stakeholders in Nepal are adopting the ANep approach
ANEP's contribution is smallholder commercial pockets established around grass roots community managed rural collection centres for market access and the development of local service providers marketing inputs, equipment, and providing embedded training to their smallholder customers. The collection centres develop detailed crop calenders for members with a value-chain group including the private sector and government experts. The centres are playing a catalytic role in enabling thousands of smallholder farmers to access a range of environmentally friendly, productivity-enhancing technologies such as micro-irrigation equipment, safe bio products for plant protection, and high quality seeds and fertiliser, close to their small farm communities.
The collection centres are developed with community and government support. They allow smallholders to increase income and productivity, enabling food security, improved nutrition, more local opportunities, and better local governance.
Growing food in the hills and terai (flat lands) of Nepal can be extremely difficult. Geographically remote, isolated from markets and subject to floods, drought, and other climate extremes – these areas provide a tough reality for local rural people.
In Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Surkhet and Rukum (areas targeted in ANEP), around two out of three families are engaged in agriculture, growing crops on small plots of land using basic farming methods.
Yet, poor access to improved agricultural technologies and markets makes it difficult for them to earn a living, and many still don’t have enough nutritious food to eat.
Poverty, food insecurity, and a lack of a nutritious diet in these areas has a disproportionate impact on women and children. In addition, malnutrition denies children the food and nutrition they need to reach their cognitive and development potential. The failure of children to reach their potential has long-term, often irreversible, social consequences.
ANEP’s latest results from a mid-term survey are strong. We are smashing our target for income, food security and nutrition:
Our target was to increase the income of poor, vulnerable HHs by 75 euro per year. ANEP has smashed this with a average annual income of farmers by 444 euros already.
Our target was to increase food secure months by one month. ANEP has increased the number of food secure months from 4.6 months to 10 months, over five times the target!
Our target was to decrease the prevalence of underweight children under two years old by 8%. ANEP has decreased the prevalence of underweight children from 37.5% to 32%. This 5.5% drop means we are well on track to meet the target by the end of the project.
The estimate for benefit-cost of the Nepal ANEP programme is 9 to 1 (farmer income/project cost). This is conservative for only the project period and shows the power of the ANEP smallholder commercial pocket approach in PPP.
The primary group benefiting from ANEP are 20,000 of the poorest, most vulnerable, socially excluded households (HHs) in both rural and urban communities in Nepal. ANEP benefits households in areas with high rates of poverty and food insecurity, primarily from the disadvantaged Dalit, Muslim, Tharu and Madeshi communities. Women and children benefit most, recognising the crucial role of women in nutrition: food production activities included at least 50% women and nutrition education classes were aimed at women with children under two.
In addition to these households, comprised mainly of smallholder farming families, many other groups benefit from collection centres:
- Management committees that run the centres
- Private sector retailers and traders
- Buyers/consumers of produce
- Community business facilitators (CBFs) – local entrepreneurs link to management committees and private sector earning commissions from the sales of farm inputs/equipment and providing training
The main person leading the effort on-the-ground is the Field Team Leader Khadga Gurung. He received his Masters in agriculture from the UK and has delivered cutting-edge agriculture programs in Nepal for 20 + years. He works with a committed field team (3 women, 8 men) to implement ANEP, including:
• Shailendra Shrestha - Marketing Program Coordinator - leads on marketing Collection Centres, and their Management Committees
• Gauri Shrestha - Regional Marketing & Value Chain Program Officer
• Guddu Mishra - District Coordinator
• Sudha Mishra - Ag Program Officer
In addition, there are 3 Ag Technicians (Mohan B Bhandari, Bauye L Yadav, Sulochana Pariyar) and 3 Marketing Supervisors (Bharat Mahato, Shyam Parajuli, Shankar P Gaire) supporting the local community around each collection centre.
Similarly, there are 11 Community Mobilisers (9 female) working at grass-root level, who are selected from local community and trained to work directly with farmers.
Farmers were growing small amounts of vegetables for subsistence: they were unaware of growing for commercial purposes; and they lacked access to technologies, farm inputs, and technical know-how.
We overcame this by organising farmers into groups linked to collection centres, and training them in innovative techniques needed to grow large yields of high-quality vegetables for sale.
Private-sector retailers did not sell technologies and farm inputs in remote, local communities: they did not see the business case, and there was little demand from subsistence farmers.
We created rural collection centres in public private partnership, built demand, and extended private sector input suppliers to rural areas.
Farmers did not have access to markets to sell their produce close to their homes; they had to struggle to transport produce to towns.
We created local markets for farmers through rural collection centres, which are focal points for sharing market information.
Establishing rural collection centres provides a key mechanism to enable environmentally friendly technologies to reach remote, difficult-to-access rural areas.
Micro Irrigation Technologies (MITs): locally manufactured low cost drip systems, micro sprinklers, treadle pumps, and water storage technologies.
Multiple Use Water Systems (MUS): piped systems that provide water for domestic use and high-value agriculture.
Renewable Energy: Including individual and community biogas technologies, solar PV for water pumping and processing, the hydraulic ram pump, and efficient cook stoves.
For the private sector to become interested in providing products and services to rural, smallholder farming communities, there needs to be both sufficient volume of production to establish demand, and easy market access. The approach stimulates the private-sector to sell a range of climate-smart, environmentally friendly technologies by providing production, demand and market access.
ANEP has sustainabilty and scale at multiple levels. It has facilitated smallholder commercial pockets with profitable collection centres managed by rural cooperatives formed from farmer groups, established local service providers earning commisions, and smallholder producers greatly increasing income/production will continue and expand. ANEP has developed the capacity of managmenet committees of the collection centres to advocate and access government services and represent smallholder communities to the private sector and development programs. The ANEP programme has also become a model for the Nepal Government, European Union, and development stakeholders for the development of smallholder agriculture, aspects of ANEP are included in the new Agriculture Perspective Plan of the government. iDE and ANEP partners will continue to support and expand ANEP impacts. iDE is leading a USAID climate change project in the ANEP districts thru 2017 that will backstop and expand ANEP impacts.
iDE and partners take innovative approaches to diseminate ANEP findings:
Nepal Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS). iDE and partners participated in consultations of the ADS to guide future government/donor plans. The ANEP commercial pocket approach and technologies are included in the ADS.
Visits. ANEP hosted high level visits from the EU for the design of future programs, the Nepal Government, the ADB, USAID, DFID, and other donors and stakeholders.
Partner Programs. iDE and partners are expanding the ANEP approachs in our projects. iDE will be reaching over 300,000 HHs (1.5 million people) in new projects using ANEP approaches.
International. ANEP also implemented in Bangladesh created strong exchange of approach/technologies. ANEP works closely with regional sister project SATNET, hosting a visit from 5 countries to diseminate ANEP approaches. iDE and partners are also working closely with the EU to document and diseminate ANEP findings in Nepal and international forums.