Improving food security and incomes
We are delighted to share details about a new project that has recently entered our Nepal portfolio, and which is now in the project start up, site selection and feasibility study phase.
Building on our long-established Solar Water Pumping (SolarMUS) programme, UREKA (Using Renewable Energy to Kickstart Agriculture) aims to improve food security and income generation for 495 households in five of the poorest and hardest to reach communities in the mountainous district of Achham. A solar water pumping system will be installed in each community, bringing each household improved access to water for domestic, agricultural and livestock use through their very own tap stand. Training in water management and good hygiene practices will be given to all households, knowledge of which is so important during this time of COVID-19.
As is the theme throughout our work, the project will provide training and support to help families use the new resource (improved access to water) to increase their income and resilience. Working through lead farmers in each community, the project will provide agricultural training. This will include the introduction of climate-smart agricultural techniques, which use water more efficiently to produce high-value and nutritious crops.
Increasing crop values
We will also work with three agricultural cooperatives and support the strengthening of agricultural value chains, through the introduction of solar-powered agro-processing units. In partnership with one of the cooperatives, a seed bank will be established. A campaign will also be delivered to increase nutritional awareness, and promote the use of heritage seeds and neglected but nutritious crops. By strengthening the capacity of agricultural cooperatives in the area, we hope to see a much wider impact due to the additional agricultural services available.
Improved access to water catalyses change
Building on previous project learning, this project focuses on using the improved water access as a catalyst for increasing agricultural productivity, by working directly with local cooperatives to improve value chains.