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COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE

Agriculture is among Nepal’s top economic stimulators, and the Nepal Labour Force Survey (NLFS) III carried out by CBS in 2017/18 maintains that the sector employs 66% of Nepal’s total population and contributes about 36% of the nation’s overall GDP. The Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) 2015 - 2035 of the Government of Nepal envisions: “A self-reliant, sustainable, competitive, and inclusive agriculture sector that drives economic growth and contributes to improved livelihoods and food and nutrition security leading to food sovereignty.”  Among ADS’s priority strategies to achieve its vision are: enhanced productivity; profitable commercialisation and competitiveness while promoting inclusiveness (both social and geographic); sustainability (both ecology and economy); development of private sector and cooperatives; and connectivity to market infrastructure; information infrastructure and ICTs. Improved productivity of land and labor is the cornerstone of the ADS’s vision which needs the adoption of appropriate technologies and skilling to increase efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production consistently with market demand. 

Despite increasing investment on commercial agriculture and enhanced adoption of modern technologies, a shortage of skilled human resources in various roles has limited the country’s potential to maximize the potential of the sector. A large number of existing workers in agriculture are underemployed and their productivity is low. A large number of the labor force, especially youth, have chosen overseas migration in search of higher income jobs and better dignity of work. A Skills Gap Analysis conducted by सीप through a firm-level survey during 2018-2019, suggests skills-related challenges for 54% of the respondents. Farming in Nepal is also largely subsistence based, and mainly led by women workforce. Transformation towards a more commercialised agriculture requires focus not only on farmers, but, fundamentally on agri enterprises involved in the commercialisation of agricultural products and services.

To stimulate growth of the agriculture sector by skilling the workforce, enhancing worker productivity, and improving linkages for better input and technology adoption and market access, सीप is catalyzing increased investments with and from the private and public sector and enabling integration of expanded and improved skilling practices. UKaid सीप, together with its partners, is promoting the increased availability of quality employment-linked and entrepreneurship-enabling training; and improved collaboration and harmonisation of efforts with key stakeholders of the agriculture ecosystem--the Government of Nepal, digital solution providers, input suppliers, academic institutes, financial firms, and employer/business networks--to improve reach and quality of information, training, and other related services for farmers, job seekers, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

Through a partnership with Sana Kisan Bikas Laghubitta Bittyasanstha Ltd. (SKBBL), a national level financial institution working as a major wholesale lending microfinance institution, the programme is  working to build entrepreneurial capabilities of returnee migrants, women, and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups in agri enterprises—through improved access to tailored and bundled financial products, including credit and insurance, coupled with skilling—across 12 districts in Provinces 2 and Lumbini Province. SKBBL is working with 101 Small Farmer Agriculture Cooperatives  that are spread across the Lumbini Province and Province2 with deep rural penetration. The cooperatives have a community insurance system which also ensures that all the investments made through loan disbursements are insured. (View More…)

Through another partnership with the Shreenagar Agro Farm (SAF)⁠—an agribusiness company that offers “one stop solutions” to farmer by providing seed, feed, agri services and market linkages UKaid सीप has enabled an industry-led skilling approach to expand classroom and farm-based training capability for farmers and aspiring agri-entrepreneurs in Lumbini Province. Drawing on its linkages with diverse firms, SAF has developed and tested new modules covering different job roles such as poultry, livestock, agribusiness, maize, and aquaculture. In addition to hands-on skilling, SAF’s end-to-end solutions include provision of access to input such as day-old-chicks and feed and market linkage with buy-back guarantees—to upskill and expand market access for smallholders and agri-enterprises, while also strengthening the firm’s supply chain. (View More…)

Similarly, the programme’s partnership with Upaya: CityCargo is helping propel the company’s foray into agriculture by strengthening skilling and operations of its subsidiary DVExcellus (“Kheti”). An online marketplace for farm products and provider of end-to-end solutions for farmers and small agri-enterprises, Kheti is connecting farmers directly with consumers (eliminating the need for brokers) and bringing the farmers into the fold of e-commerce. UKaid सीप’s efforts are accelerating and strengthening Upaya and Kheti digitally-powered intervention to spur growth of e-commerce and address systemic gaps in the supply chains by building digitally literate workers and transforming self-employment pathways for the farmers (and drivers).  (View More…)

Shreenagar Agro Farm/Shree Kisan Innovation Hub

UKaid सीप’s partnership with Shreenagar Agro Farm (SAF)an agribusiness company that offers “one stop solutions” to farmer by providing seed, feed, agri services and market linkageshas enabled an industry-led skilling approach to expand classroom and farm-based training capability and access for farmers and aspiring agri-entrepreneurs in Lumbini Province. Drawing on its linkages with diverse firms, SAF has developed and tested new modules covering different job roles such as poultry, livestock, agribusiness, maize, and aquaculture. In addition to hands-on skilling, SAF’s end-to-end solutions include provision of access to input such as day-old-chicks and feed and market linkage with buy-back guarantees—to upskill and expand market access for smallholders and agri-enterprises, while also strengthening the firm’s supply chain. (View More…)

DV Excellus Kheti through Upaya: CityCargo

UKaid सीप’s partnership with Upaya: CityCargo, a cargo company for intra-city logistics, and it’s subsidiary DV Excellus Kheti which is an agri-food tech digital platform—is helping accelerate transformation of the intra-city logistics industry as well as farm-to-market delivery of agricultural produce, closing the supply chain logistic gaps, and boosting digitally powered self-employment—for drivers and farmers. सीप has helped integrate skilling, including digital literacy, in Upaya and its agri-business extension Kheti’s business model to drive up adoption of digital technologies; financing solutions; and inclusion. (View More...)

Sana Kishan Bikas Laghubitta Bittyasanstha Ltd.

UKaid सीप’s partnership with Sana Kisan Bikas Laghubitta Bittyasanstha Ltd. (SKBBL)—a national level financial institution working as a major wholesale lending microfinance institution—is  working to build entrepreneurial capabilities of returnee migrants, women, and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups in agri enterprises. SKBBL is helping improve access to tailored and bundled financial products, including credit and insurance, coupled with skilling, across 12 districts in Provinces 2 and Lumbini Province, through collaborations with  101 Small Farmer Agriculture Cooperative. (View More…)