Thursday, March 28, 2013

USAID, government partner to create, distribute food security training materials

The USAID-funded Nepal Economic, Agriculture, and Trade Activity (NEAT) is partnering with Ministry of Agriculture Development to design and disseminate agricultural training materials nationwide.
The materials — 263,000 pieces covering 13 crops and three types of livestock — include durable handouts and flipcharts aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of agricultural production. They are oriented to illiterate and semi-literate populations, using a combination of photos and written descriptions in Nepali to clearly depict and explain critical agriculture practices. The materials will be distributed to Department of Agriculture Training Centres, District Agriculture Development Officers (DADOs), and extension service centers throughout the country.
Developed in consultation with Nepal’s Department of Agriculture, the training materials were officially handed over to the ministry at an event in Kathmandu yesterday. The agriculture development secretary Jaya Mukunda Khanal and joint secretary Ram Prasad Pulami, received the materials.
Joint secretary Prabhakar Pathak, on the occasion, noted that the training materials will be an ‘asset for the training needs of our agriculture sector.’ Speaking at the event, director of USAID’s Social, Environmental, and Economic Development Office John Stamm  said that USAID remained committed to sustainable impact. “The materials being handed over today will build the capacity of Nepali farmers and extension agents throughout the country to increase their food security and their incomes,” he said, adding that long after the project has ended, farmers, DADOs, service centers, and other projects will continue to use the materials created through this joint effort with the government.
NEAT is a 32-month programme designed to promote economic growth, reduce poverty, increase food security, and improve lives. The programme is working with 67,510 food insecure and disadvantaged households in 20 districts of the west and mid-west regions, facilitating their access to markets and improved inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and integrated pest management supplies, and building their capacity to use good agricultural practices like pest and disease control, and improved post-harvest handling.
The farmers supported by the programme have increased their household incomes by a total of more than $8.5 million, with 99 per cent of them reporting increased access to markets for their crops. The project will close this August.

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