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Organic Food Production and Marketing as Sustainable Livelihood for Small-Scale Farmers in Central Nepal

The massive use of external production inputs particularly agrochemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), beyond doubt, increased production of the agricultural commodities. But at the same time, that makes the production system most dependable in one side, and in another most important side, brings a trend of neglecting the use of locally available resources and their eco-friendly recycling. This has created a havoc situation in agricultural system by making the agro-ecosystem unproductive due to increase acidity and loss of soil microbes. Beside, indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides has created the pest resistance and resurgence in crop field which has created a havoc situation in agricultural system where increased dose and frequency of the hazardous agrochemicals are being ineffective in controlling disease and pests. The negative effects of chemical agriculture in human and environment health have already been proved. These facts demand for the sustainable intensification of the agriculture sector which gives emphasis on use of local resources, organic ingredients, low external input and eco-friendly management of pests and diseases. Without doubt, the very reliable form of agriculture for sustainability is organic farming.

Organic farming in Nepal is equally significant from two perspectives; producing healthy foods and improving livelihood of the impoverished farmers. Due to increased awareness about organic food products, all stakeholders are attracted towards the organic sphere in the present time. The organic premium offered by some of the organic traders has attracted the rural farmers to adopt organic cultivation in their farm. However, inadequate marketing channel for organic products has become one of the marketing constraints for the proliferation of organic business.Therefore, SECARD Nepal aspires to develop an effective and pragmatic marketing solution for the problems.

However, developmental activity related to agriculture is influenced by the existing geopolitical situation, economic growth and status of the society. The Gorkha earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks have created chaos in some of the districts of central Nepal including Dhading. It has added other outstanding challenges in livelihood of the people such as food insecurity, drinking water system damage and shelter demolition. So, this situation has compelled development workers to think about more integrated approach of development rather than sector wise development. That is why; rigorous discussion with all stakeholders was made so that a practically feasible set of activities can be implemented in Dhading district of Nepal. 

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

The working objectives of the project are as follows:

To  enable marginalized small-scale farmers in local community
To improve their food security and income situation by using methods and techniques of organic food production & effective marketing strategies
To contribute to sustainable and responsible use of nature and the environment & preserves diversity
To enhance self-reliance, responsibility and collaboration
To promote the relevance and necessity for organic food production
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