Question: How do you view Nepal’s ongoing transition to federalism and the challenges facing the country in this context?
- I think it is for the country to decide how it wants the government administration to work and we will work closely with the government to help implement the federalism process. It has many opportunities because it brings accountability down right to the people. The challenges will be building capacity at municipality and provincial level. They should have sufficient capacity to be able to deliver.
Question: How is Nepal’s performance so far as IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) funded projects are concerned in the past four decades and what are their drawbacks?
- Nepal’s portfolio for IFAD has been very good. We have had many successes, as our team visited the field this week. Many successes in helping poor people adapt to the changes in climate adopt to the environment engage them in reforestation and irrigation and also helping to find them market for their products. However, I think some of the challenges are mainly around project implementation and capacity of local administration and the government to be able to deliver as we don’t deliver directly by ourselves, we deliver through the government.
Question: What is your suggestion for improvement of Nepal’s agricultural development and upliftment of the marginalized people?
- There are number of lessons we have learned during the project implementation. Firstly, you need to have tremendous focus on the result we are trying to achieve. Secondly, you need a good team that is required to implement projects and thirdly you need intervention that is very appropriate for the realistic situation of the rural people. And that shouldn’t be too complicated and unsustainable and at the same time to ensure that you are building their capacity. And their opportunity particularly to engage in markets for their products.
Question: What needs to be done to deal with the effects of climate change in the agricultural field of Nepal?
- Climate change is with us now. We have already seen the effects and Nepal is one of those countries that would be very badly hit by climate change. And often it is the small farmer the poor rural people that are most affected because they have least resources to cope and to adopt. So all our projects that are going forward would have significant aspects for adaptation to climate change and building their resilience so that they have coping mechanism. One area would be conservation of water and protection of water sources and natural resources. Specially the small farmers have access to climate smart agriculture, use of small scale irrigation, use of conservation agriculture, so you conserve the moisture round the plants.
Question: What would be IFAD’s focus on Nepal’s sustainable development in the future?
- For future we have a number of priorities, which we have already discussed during the meeting here. One is to support the government’s move to federalism, to ensure the capacity, to ensure really inclusive development so that poor people are very much included in the national development and the value change. Finally, ensuring strong focus on climate change so that small farmers are really prepared for that.
(IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized UN agency based in Rome, Italy. Since 1978 it has so far provided US$ 284 million grants and low interest loans to Nepal. Over the past four decades IFAD has funded 17 projects including eight ongoing ones. Rural Development Projects financed and supported by the IFAD have contributed to increased agricultural productivity and income generation of smallholder farmers in Nepal, according to a recently released report. Asst. Vice President Donal Brown, was here on a brief visit to attend the one day national workshop jointly organized by IFAD and Ministry of Agriculture in Kathmandu on Wednesday.)