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Economic Development and Opportunity

Safety Nets supporting Agricultural Productivity (SNAP)

United Nation World Food Program (WFP)
16 August 2010 - 30 June 2012 (two phases: August 2010 - June 2011; and July 2011 - June 2012)
Far Western Hills (Doti, Dadeldhura, and Baitadi Districts)
13,920 households (estimated 90,000 individuals)
Economic Development and Opportunity
Approximately USD 3,500,000
Samaj Sewa Doti- Doti; Rural Environment Development Centre - Dadeldhura; and, Mitra Sangh Baitadi-Baitadi.

The Challenge
Today, the world has more than enough food to feed everyone, yet 850 million are food insecure. Achieving food security requires adequate food availability, access, and use (World Development Report 2008). The world experienced a crisis in world food markets in 2007-2008 that had not been seen in decades. This global rise in food prices has increased the level of vulnerability and suffering in many already chronically food insecure communities of rural Nepal. At the beginning of the crisis, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicted that 37 countries faced imminent food crises, with consequences such as malnourishment, starvation, and civil unrest. Nepal was listed among these at-risk countries: ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world (ranked 14th poorest by the World Bank in 2009), with a relatively low Human Development Index (144th position in HDI-2009 ranking), and suffering from among the highest chronic malnutrition rates among children under five in the world (48%), with parts of the country rates as "Alarming": and "Extremely Alarming" on the IFPRI Hunger Index, food security shocks hit the country particularly hard. In recent years, this vulnerability has further aggravated by acute natural disasters in Far Western Nepal, including flooding, landslides, and drought.

The Opportunity

Nutrition awareness campaignNutrition awareness campaign
System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) line sowingSystem of Wheat Intensification (SWI) line sowing

Responses to these challenges require safety nets for the most vulnerable, food insecure households, but these safety nets must be provided in a way that help to alleviate the underlying causes of food insecurity, chief among them low agricultural productivity and low nutritional awareness. Mercy Corps and partners implemented a WFP-supported Food Crisis Cash Transfer Project between November 2008 and June 2010, preventing harmful coping strategies among 17,508 households in three Far Western districts through Cash for Work supporting over 440 schemes. Building upon the lessons learned from this project, and incorporating strategies from agricultural projects implemented by Mercy Corps, partners, and colleague agencies in Nepal, Safety Nets supporting Agricultural Productivity (SNAP) was designed.

SNAP endeavors to continue the immediate, cash transfer-based response to alarming levels of food insecurity in the Far Western hills while introducing complementary agricultural livelihoods and nutrition awareness activities. In total, 25 VDCs (Village Development Committees) have been selected for the intervention, including 8 VDCs in Doti; 10 VDCs in Dadeldhura; and 7 VDCs in Baitadi.

The overall goal of the project is to provide immediate relief for food insecure households, while expanding agricultural productivity and nutritional awareness for food insecure communities. This will be accomplished by transferring cash in the form of daily wages to 13,920 food insecure households to construct small-scale community infrastructure that enhances agricultural productivity through improved irrigation facilities, land use, input availability, and access to storage or market facilities. These schemes will be complemented by agricultural capacity building for Farmers Groups, and nutritional awareness campaigns for participating households. Given the high levels of gender disparity and social exclusion in the Far Western hills, and given the high out-migration of men in search of work opportunities, community-level partners will be mobilized with substantial female and disadvantaged group representation; training will be targeted at women; and, cash will be transferred to female household members.

The project works closely with community-based User Committees (UCs)/ Farmer Groups (FGs), in coordination with district-based NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations): Samaj Sewa Doti in Doti; Rural Environment Development Centre in Dadledhura; and Mitra Sangh Baitadi in Baitadi.

Table 2. List of the SNAP Project VDCs

District VDCs
Doti 1.Kalikasthan 2.Khatiwada 3.Baglek 4.Daud, 5.Jaira Gaun 6.Ganjari 7.Barpata 8.Kalena
Dadeldhura 1. Alital 2.Ajaymeru 3. Bhadrapur 4 Koteli 5. Manilekh 6. Ganeshpur 7. Kaipalmandu 8. Belapur 9. Chipur 10 Dewaldibyapur
Baitadi 1. Katuzpani 2.Vijaypur 3. Dikharim/ Rim 4.Dilasaini 5.Gajari 6.Sikash 7.Talladehi


Compost pit constructed at household level in Chiran KalakotCompost pit constructed at household level in Chiran Kalakot
Irrigation pond constructed in Humtad, DadeldhuraIrrigation canal rehabilitated in Humtad, Dadeldhura

The project will be comprised of three major categories of activities: Cash for Work (CfW); Agricultural Productivity Interventions; and, Nutrition Awareness Campaigns. Project activities are designed to incorporate all three dimensions of food security: that is, food availability, access, and utilization. These activity areas are summarized below: