Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NEAT project coms to an end, USAID to continue support foster economic growth and improve food security

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) commemorated its almost three-year partnership with Nepal and the private sector to foster economic growth and improve food security, today.
Since 2010, the partnership, through the USAID-funded Nepal Economic, Agriculture, and Trade (NEAT) Project, has sought to improve the country’s business environment, strengthen fiscal and trade policies, encourage competitiveness and exports of tea, ginger, lentils, and coffee; enhance food security and increase access to financial services.
“Advancing economic growth must be a sustained, prioritised effort because it benefits everyone — every political party, civil society and the private sector, and rich and poor Nepalis in cities and in rural areas,” USAID/Nepal acting mission director Sheila Lutjens said, at the closing ceremony.
NEAT worked with more than 75,000 households in 32 districts in the country, directly improving the lives of 560,000 people, according to the USAID.
The USAID NEAT project worked with 20 private firms and almost 67,000 farmers, increasing farmer sales by $26.5 million, with another $10 million in incremental farmer sales projected for the summer of 2013, it said, adding that it has also facilitated the disbursement of more than $3.67 million in rural loans by financial sector partners, creating much-needed cash flow in local economies and supporting small-businesses.
Likewise NEAT also helped more than 19,000 rural customers find new access to formal financial services through either new bank branches or mobile financial service and supported the government to analyse 40 policies and administrative reforms, of which nine are already being implemented, including tax payments through the Any Bank Branching System (ABBS), new seed registration process, revised custom’s valuation procedures, and a data link between the Office of Company Registrar and the Inland Revenue Department.
Implemented by Chemonics with Fintrac, CEAPRED, METCON, Making Cents, Kaizen, WOCAN, Land O’ Lakes, and numerous local partners, the project has built the capacity of more than 40 local organisations, including financial service institutions, business service providers, and private firms, to implement key economic growth and food security efforts.
USAID will continue the successes, best practices, and efforts of NEAT’s agriculture work through the recently launched, five-year Knowledge-based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition (KISAN) project that will work in close collaboration with new government programmes in the mid-and-far west regions to improve food security, increase income, and diversify diets for about one million rural Nepalis.

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