Project description / objective
Sahaj aims to increase rural smallholder farmers’ income by facilitating their engagement in commercial agriculture markets. This in turn provides them with better opportunities to increase their income and improve their livelihood and competitiveness.
The programme works in three core sectors:
and two cross-sectors:
- Crop protection
- Post harvest
Market system focus
Over 43 per cent of total Nepalese households are involved in goat rearing. The trend in meat consumption is increasing with the increase in urbanisation and associated rising levels of income of households as meat is a highly income elastic consumption item.
Goat meat is particularly popular in Nepal as it is preferred by all caste. About 20 per cent of the total annual meat production of Nepal is from goat. Though market demand for goat meat is constantly on the rise, farmers have limited access to input markets and information resulting in low productivity of goats.
Maize is the second biggest staple food crop after rice in terms of area and production in Nepal. These days it has become one of the most important industrial crops for poultry feed in Nepal.
There is a strong involvement of a very large number of smallholder farmers; high participation of women and disadvantage groups; economic return can be increased by increasing production and linking farmers with mainstream commercial maize markets. It has very good potential for import substitution (very high unmet demand by the feed industry).
Vegetable is very common in rural areas especially for poor smallholder farmers and is an important source of income for over 3.2 million Nepalese families. Vegetable is a good source of quick income and nutrition to families. With increasing demand, access to road, inputs and markets is making space for increasing its production.
There is growth in the input industry and service providers, increasing interest of some private companies (inputs) to invest in their marketing and distribution strategy.
4. Post harvest
Good scope for working in a diverse range of post-harvest functions, including cleaning, assembling, grading, sorting, storage, packaging, processing, transportation, distribution and work on the commodity supply chain across value-chains.
Strong relevance for vegetable and maize sector; good potential for reducing post-harvest loss and increasing income; also relevant for wider economy (other crops including spices, citrus).
Several constraints/opportunities can feasibly be addressed/leveraged by the programme; decent number of very capable and interested intervention-partners.
5. Crop protection
In Nepal, 25-35 per cent yield loss is caused by insect, pests and diseases. The crop loss is mainly a result of the non-usage, sub-optimal use and often, overuse of pesticides. Lack of knowledge and information and constraints to access quality crop protection solutions lead to crop loss and sub-optimal income for farmers.
- Facilitation in strengthening capacity of local vet service providers by creating direct linkage with vet medicine companies.
- Supporting local level goat breeders to develop a business of breeding service for goats along with embedded products such as fodder and forage.
- Support in increasing production of fodder and forage for goats and distribution of the fodder and forage to goat farmers through local nurseries.
- Increase access to high yielding maize seeds to the farmers.
- Linking small holder maize farmers with the feed industry.
- Improving vegetable, maize and goat farmers’ access to knowledge and quality inputs (micro-nutrients, bio/organic fertiliser, bio-pesticides and veterinary products) through field technicians, agro-vets and Kishan Call Center.
- Improving linkage between farmers and traders. Provide production technology-related knowledge to the farmers for demand-based season and off-season vegetable production and marketing.
- Improving smallholder vegetable farmers’ access to affordable quality seeds by facilitating production and promotion of quality vegetable seeds in Nepal.
- Improving farmers’ awareness of post-harvest management and access to post-harvest equipment and techniques, focusing on hermetic (PICS) bags to reduce post-harvest losses in maize and other cereal crops.
- Linking smallholder farmers to structured procurement markets.
- Creating market opportunities for farmers cultivating indigenous crops through various pre-and post-harvest awareness and training activities.
- Support access to knowledge and quality crop protection inputs through trainings, field staff service, information materials etc. through crop protection input importers.
- Support access to organic crop protection products to farmers by strengthening the distribution system and providing an embedded service to small farmers through crop protection input importers.