Nepal government and the Manila based Asian Development Bank (ADB) have reached an agreement for the investments in the nuts and fruits in the hilly area project.
The government bears about $14.5 million (around Rs 1.88 billion) for the project while a $60 million (around Rs 7.79 billion) concessional loan will be funded from the Ordinary Capital Resources. Similarly, the financing includes a $10 million (Rs 1.30 billion) grant from the Asian Development Fund, and the ADB will administer a $9 million (Rs 1.17 billion) grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.
The agreement was inked by Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Pushkar, and the ADB Country Director for Nepal, Arnaud Cauchois amid a function in Kathmandu on Monday. The project will benefit more than 30,000 households in Province 1, Bagmati, Gandaki, Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces, mainly through the development of around 10,000 hectares of climate-resilient fruit and nut orchard.
Nepal faces increasing demand for fruits and nuts mainly due to income growth and improved knowledge of nutrition which is not met by domestic supply. The commercial farming of fruits and nuts in Nepal remains marginal and the abandonment of cultivable land in hilly areas is increasing as people are switching to other off-farm employment and relying on external remittances. “The project will instrumental in taking an advantage of the country’s favourable agro-climatic conditions to product quality horticulture crops and will support the government the government’s declaration of the 2016-2026 Fruit Decade,” remarked Finance Secretary Pushkar.
“Through this project, we will support improving the livelihood and climate resilience of horticulture farmers in the hilly areas of the five provinces of Nepal,” informed ADB Country Director for Nepal, Cauchois. The agreement is a key part of the ADB’s overall efforts to address potential risks on food, he added.