Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Project
Nepal’s agriculture is mostly small-scale and subsistence-oriented, characterized by a mix of crop and livestock farming and providing few economies of scale in production and marketing. The agriculture sector represents about one-third of the Gross Domestic Product and 75% of the labor force is engaged in agriculture. With an average landholding size of 0.7 hectares and 55% of farms operating on less than 0.5 hectares, the majority of farms are unable to produce enough to meet their household food requirements for the whole year. With the urban population growing at 4.7%, it will not be possible for Nepal to meet the growing domestic food demand without increased agricultural productivity and competitiveness of domestic production.
Major cereal crops and vegetables have low yields, but there are significant prospects for increases through improved seed and soil fertility management practices. A large part of the yield gap is a result of lack of knowledge, inadequate access to affordable improved technologies, extension services, and markets due to weak public and private sector capacity to provide the support services needed by small scale farmers.
The five-year (2016-2021) $15 million Feed the Future’s Nepal Seed and Fertilizer (NSAF) project facilitates sustainable increases in national crop productivity, income and household-level food and nutrition security, across the 20 Feed the Future “Zone of Influence” districts and in five earthquake-affected districts. The project promotes the use of improved seeds and Integrated Soil Fertility Management technologies along with effective and efficient extension (including the use of ICT and digital technologies). NSAF will specifically increase availability of technologies to improve productivity in maize, rice, lentils, onions, cauliflower, and tomatoes. The project will build competitive and vibrant seed and fertilizer systems that significantly expand seed production, marketing and distribution by enhancing the capacity and role of public, private and community sectors in seed and fertilizer value chains.
The project is led by CIMMYT and collaborates with different divisions of the Ministry of Agricultural Development with partners the International Fertilizer Development Center, Center for Environment and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development, Quantitative Engineering Design and agro-input companies.