LIVELIHOOD & AGRICULTURE
CAN has long been involved in various livelihood schemes, from growing vegetables to rearing goats.
Livelihood projects normally integrate into a larger project with model kitchen gardens at health posts or mushroom cultivation at schools etc. These schemes are driven by the local community and help with income generation as well as improving the variety of nutrition available locally.
More recently CAN has stepped up our work around livelihoods by providing capacity building in organic horticulture and agriculture and ensuring that these livelihood projects are owned and driven by the local community, to support sustainability.
LIVELIHOOD & AGRICULTURE LATEST NEWS
Our scaled up livelihood and agriculture programme began in 2016 as part of our post-earthquake recovery programme. It has been funded by the Big Lottery Foundation and CAFOD. The programme is delivered by CAN Nepal staff with support from our Trustee, Dr. Claire Souch and CAN friend Dr. Till Pellny who is an agricultural engineer.
Over the past five years, we have employed four Junior Technical Assistants (JTA’s) and six agricultural helpers to develop model organic kitchen gardens at each health post. The JTA’s and helpers work alongside our nurses to distribute seeds, equipment and provide capacity building to the local community, developing a network of over 300 organic kitchen gardens across Tsum-Nubri and making over 2,000 beneficiaries more food secure.
During the last 18 months the programme has helped our communities cope with food shortages arising from Covid- 19. The model gardens at CAN health posts alone produced 661kg of vegetables in 2020, which were consumed by vulnerable people at risk and CAN staff. Over 900 individuals have been trained despite social- distancing measures.
As well as growing nutrient rich and varied crops, the team have also collaborated with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council to distribute new varieties of bio- fortified wheat to local farmers with enhanced zinc and iron levels, which can be milled locally into flour to produce healthier bread.
Having access to a more varied and nourishing diet is a key part of CAN's preventative health measures. Over 35% of children under 5 in Nepal suffer from chronic malnutrition. Healthier people are more resilient to disease and infections, and children and young people grow up fitter and stronger - as well as being able to concentrate more at school.
This programme also provides the residents of these communities with the skills and tools they need to develop income-generating enterprises. As well as selling surplus food at local markets and trekking houses, the communities are also growing high-cash crops such as saffron, walnuts, apples and pears as well as cultivating mushrooms and constructing beehives to produce organic honey.
In line with our ethos, CAN’s livelihood and agriculture programmes use organic techniques to reduce reliance on commercial chemicals and fertilizers benefitting the environment and soil quality, reducing costs and preventing lock-in to Big Ag tech companies. Equipment and seeds are sourced from within Nepal wherever possible to support the development of supply chains and the economy within the country, with broader benefits outside CAN’s project areas.