Nepal is an agrarian country where majority of the people live in rural areas. The incidence and severity of poverty is twice in rural areas compared to urban areas (Human Development Report, 2014) which is largely due to poor agricultural economy. Alleviating poverty in such a situation is largely determined by the performance of the rural economy.
The livelihood of the rural people largely depends on agricultural produces and natural resources. Agriculture sector remains the most important sector of the economy and employing over 75% of the population and accounts for 33% of the GDP. However, rural people who are reliant on agriculture have seen very little changes in their poor economic status. Small scale animal husbandry is practiced through the country but the quality of the products is poor, diary and meats produced are not sufficient for the families.
According to Nepal Living Standard Survey 2010/11, poverty rate fallen from 41.2% in 1995/1996 to 25.2%. Nepal is still considered a least developed country (145 out of 187 in the UNDP Human Development Index). For Nepal to graduate from a least developed country to developing country, it is crucial to increase the pace of economic growth, engage youth in income generation activities and promote high value cash crop production.
Nepal has a huge potential to increase agricultural productivity. However, it has to put efforts to improve agricultural productivity by innovating and importing improved technologies, minimizing migration, improving financial access to quality inputs, and building capacity of change agents, which will provide a robust and sustainable foundation for achieving poverty reduction.
GNI Nepal has been implementing income generation and promotion activities through community based social enterprises to enhance the socioeconomic condition of community members by mobilizing local resources. Agriculture development (high value crops-seasonal and off-seasonal vegetables, medicinal, and aromatic plants) and livestock development (pig, poultry, fish, cow, goat, mule, yak, and buffalo) are the major components of income generation. GNI Nepal has also been focusing on group and cooperative formation in order to establish community level social enterprises.
Poverty reduction and alleviation remains central to GNI Nepal’s livelihood component. GNI Nepal has been implementing income generation and promotion activities through community based social enterprises to enhance the food security of the communities by mobilizing local resources. It is an integrated approach that aims to reduce poverty in rural communities.
Objectives of livelihood enhancement activities are as follows:
- To establish self-reliant community institutions to provide financial and marketing services for economic activities
- To promote micro-enterprises for income and employment generation
- To enhance food security of ultra-poor households through income diversification
Institutional Development –
A large majority of the rural communities are poor and they cannot access credits and other financial services due to their low and unstable income. Cooperatives and income generation groups have the potential to foster economic growth in the community and build the spirit of cooperation. With local ownership and control, and net profits that are distributed to those who are a member of the cooperative and groups, these institutions are considered to be an ideal model for local economic development. They can be the foundation for a community’s economic empowerment and sustainability which has become extremely critical with current economic woes. GNI emphasizes to establish cooperatives as social enterprise to increase the rural income.
The objective of promoting cooperative establishment is to develop business service providers at local level so that financial and non-financial services are available in the community for income generation.
Micro-enterprise Development –
To meet the economic necessities of the rural people and in particular to address the needs of those living below the poverty line, GNI collaborates with cooperatives and income generation groups. It aims to help low-income families to become entrepreneurs, promote the development of their enterprises, and create a strong partnership between marketing actors of micro-enterprise products /services and local service delivery institutions. Its goals are twofold: one to reduce poverty among low-income families in rural areas and the other is to ensure the institutional development and capacity building of local service delivery organizations so that they work as catalysts in the development of rural micro-enterprise sector. It also supports local economic development and helps strengthen the capacity of community.
The aim of the micro-enterprise development is to generate employment and income utilizing locally available resources.
Livelihood Support –
Livelihood support is especially for the landless, small-scale farmers, and marginalized communities who cannot afford or willing to take risks to invest in a business. Most of the small-scale farmers do not have enough land to meet their food requirements.
The aim of the program is to enhance food security of small-scale farmers and ultra-poor families by diversifying their sources of income.