Rural communities in Nepal's highland areas are receiving financial support to cultivate high value crops and rear livestock, as well as advice on entering agricultural value chains to reach profitable markets.
The High Mountain and Livelihood Improvement Project, known as HIMALI, has financed 648 agribusinesses and created more than 8,600 jobs in some of Nepal's poorest highland areas. The Asian Development Bank is supporting HIMALI with a $20 million grant.
Nepal, South Asia
The people of rural Nepal face many challenges. For years, limited investment and poor access to markets have resulted in persistent poverty. But their land is rich in ecological diversity and home to a wide range of plants and agricultural products.
Road networks built in recent years have linked many farmers to markets, opening new business opportunities.
The government is helping people capitalize on these opportunities through the High Mountain and Livelihood Improvement Project, known as HIMALI.
The project, which is supporting agribusiness development in ten mountain districts, is financed by a $20 million grant from the Asian Development Bank.
“This steep terrain was unsuitable for cultivating crops, although we had plenty of water,’ says Yangjen Tamang, a rainbow trout farmer from Rasuwa.
“We had plans to develop fisheries but didn’t have the money. The HIMALI project assisted us to realize our dream. We now have several raceways to start our fisheries business, and we are making a profit.”
The project can fund up to 80% of a farmer’s cost of establishing an agribusiness. Across the country, HIMALI has financed 648 agribusinesses, creating 8,600 new jobs.
For many entrepreneurs in the country, HIMALI was their opnly option to start a business.
“I could not have started this business through a loan,” says Narbada Khanal, who runs an incense stick manufacturing business in Sankhuwasabha.
“HIMALI made it possible. I now employ seven people including four women.”
New businesses supported by HIMALI are raising livestock, growing produce, developing medicinal and aromatic plants, and providing value-chain services.
For Bungdi Sherpa, a cardamom producer from Sankhuwasabha, HIMALI afforded him the opportunity to introduce new crops in the area where he lives.
“Earlier we didn’t have cardamom seedlings in our district. We had to import them from faraway districts,” he says.
“Thanks to HIMALI, we are producing right here. These are for everyone and I expect to earn around $60,000 from my nursery this year.”
Farmers also get access to new technologies and marketing support.
“The District Chamber of Commerce plays an important role in branding and marketing products,” Sundar Karki, from the Dolakha District Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
“Our products need to be of high quality and the scale of production needs to increase.”
The HIMALI project has helped rural communities transition from subsistence to commercial farming.
“With the grant assistance from HIMALI, I started my own business and I have been able to improve my life,” says Norsang Jyanmo Ghaleni, who runs a fresh vegetable production center in
“I worked very hard with a dream to provide good education to my children. And I am happy with my vegetable production.”