Many small farmers in
Nepal face serious hardship because of their limited access to
inputs and services of line agencies. Government promotes farmers
organizations, but in many cases officials control the organization.
The Small Farmer Development Project was launched in 1975 as a pilot
action-research project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations with the aim of encouraging genuine participation
by the rural poor in development.
Development Bank of Nepal was selected as the implementing agency.
Carefully selected male and female catalysts received training in
conscientization and animation techniques, group dynamics,
participation and problem solving to guide the small farmers.
The project launched
income-generating activities and it addressed social development
issues such as literacy, health, nutrition, sanitation and family
planning. The project also carried out rural infrastructure
development projects such as the construction of irrigation systems
and school buildings. Line agency services were sought to provide
The success of the
pilot action-research led to the expansion of the project to 31
districts in phase I and to all 75 districts later. Improvements to
the model were made at each stage of the expansion. The most
outstanding impact was that small farmers became socially and
politically empowered in solving problems, once they were organized
into small and homogeneous groups.