Commercializing smallholder agriculture and empowering women in Nepal

The Market Access and Water Technologies (MAWTW, 2013 - 2016) project piloted the commercial pocket approach to commercialize smallholder agriculture with a focus on involving and empowering women. The approach involved working with communities, the private sector and government to facilitate sufficient volume of production in three of the poorest districts in Nepal. 

The project included a strong focus on marketing water technologies - drip irrigation, micro sprinklers, shallow tube wells (in the plains) and multiple use water systems (MUS) - that save labour, increase production, and enable production in the dry season. These technologies greatly reduced the workload of women and girls that carry water. More than 9,000 women were helped to become commercial farmers (93 percent of MAWTW farmers) with an increase in annual vegetable income of US$ 205. Forty women have become entrepreneurs marketing agricultural inputs or produce, and 85 women are members of marketing and planning committees that manage collection centres. Around 292 women hold key management roles. A blog gives more details on the project and this video shows the impact it has on the women in the area.

A current threat to all smallholders in the region and elsewhere in Nepal is a pest called Tuta. Mostly tomatoes are seriously affected by this pest and it reduces the crop yields. This results in less income for the growers. A video gives an impression of what is happening and what solutions are available to reduce the threat.