The Government of Nepal and UNDP have signed an agreement to implement the “Cooperative Market Development Programme” which aims to establish and operationalize cooperative market chain of fruits and vegetables to increase farmers’ income and other livelihood opportunities.
Under the agreement, the Government of Nepal and UNDP will contribute US$5 million and US$2 million respectively to the five-year joint initiative to be implemented in six districts in and around the Kathmandu Valley: Dhading, Nuwakot, Kavre, Lalitpur, Makawanpur and Chitwan.
Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Raghuram Bista and UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer signed the agreement on Friday amid a function at Singhadurbar, Kathmandu.
The programme aims to increase quality, quantity and consistency of the supply of fruit and vegetable production in the selected districts through infrastructure development, training and support on farming techniques, marketing and institutional capacity building.
“There is a huge market potential in this sector in and around the Kathmandu valley. This market also offers significant growth potential for the benefit of local people and farmers, as around one third of the supplies in this sector still come from outside Nepal,” said Gopi Nath Mainali, Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation. “This project will tap the potential we have in the fruit and vegetable market and help boost local farmers’ income and the economy.”
Studies show that while there are several cooperative-based farmers that have been engaged in fruit and vegetable farming and trade, their growth is hindered by a number of factors such as poor infrastructure, including transport and storage facility, inadequate access to market information and regulatory and institutional bottlenecks.
“UNDP is pleased to sign this partnership agreement with the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, which builds on a long-term partnership between the two institutions. This will directly benefit thousands of Nepali farmers over the next five years, through crucial support in modernizing their production and market chain,” said UNDP Country Director Meyer. “The active engagement and financing from the Ministry shows strong commitment, leadership and ownership of the programme.”
The programme aims to directly benefit over 14,000 farmers from the six districts through interventions including trainings on production enhancement, branding, marketing, farming, storage facility and processing and construction of 90 collection centers at the municipal and ward levels. The programme will help Nepal achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with direct contribution to SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger).
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