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26 Mar 21

Start Strong: Agriculture

Farming is the main livelihood activity for 66% of people in Nepal and is crucial for remote rural communities. Being able to grow good yields of nutritious food enables farmers to feed their families well and increase economic independence by selling to others. However, challenging farming conditions and an unpredictable climate results in low yields and produce lacking in nutritional value. In the Far West of Nepal, there is a reliance on subsistence, rain-fed and single approach farming methods with the productivity of most food crops and livestock falling below 50% of the attainable potential. Furthermore, women are often expected to provide for their families but are frequently denied access to the training and support which would improve the production of healthy food.  

This lack of quantity, quality and diversity of food has led to high levels of food insecurity, deficiencies and malnutrition, especially amongst women and children. Famers in these remote regions are lacking in confidence and knowledge of the modern agricultural techniques which could result in food security for their family’s future. In Rugin, 94% of farmers are unaware of how to construct and use a polytunnel, with 99% of farmers in Bichhaya not using any irrigation facilities.  

The Start Strong project will provide the training and materials for mushroom cultivation, whilst also providing 250 women with chicks, starter feed and training on how to protect their poultry from wild animals. Working closely with PHASE agricultural technicians, 125 female farmers will receive agricultural materials and seed support for vegetable farming will be provided, enabling them to play a more active role in their community and family. Improving community understanding of the nutritional and medical needs of mothers and children will be vital throughout the Start Strong Project.  Our aim is to ensure that women can play a more active role in their household and wider community through gaining skills, confidence and knowledge of how to produce healthy, nutritious food all year round. 

No matter how hard she tried, Ganga’s yearly harvest only produced enough food to last six months. For years, she had been trying to produce more food for her family. After receiving training from a PHASE Agricultural Technician, Ganga now has a tunnel which allows her to produce off-seasonal vegetables to sell in her local shop. “Through the training I learnt that in a challenging climate like here, it is essential to prepare and adjust accordingly. I learnt that with improved seeds, you can yield more and in a shorter time. It is great to learn new things!”  

Give before 25th June 2021 and the UK Government will match all public donations. A donation of just £56 could provide one woman with materials, tools and training from an agricultural technician, enabling her to produce nutritious vegetables and improve food security for her future. Let’s support women like Ganga and give her the knowledge and confidence to feed her family. 

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