March 2-3, 2023, Janakpur, Nepal – KOICA-GGGI Climate Smart Agriculture Project concluded two Pre-Information Workshops and shared about its Terai Agribusiness and Enterprise Challenge Fund (TAECF). The workshop gathered 150 participants, representing different government organizations, private sectors, farming community, development agencies, etc. The workshop was successful in familiarizing participants with the TAECF, its processes and working modality.
Dr. Lasse Ringius, Country Representative, GGGI, as he delivered his welcome remarks, thanked the Korean government for funding the Climate Smart Agriculture Project in Madesh Province. He also shared the success story of Korea’s economic transformation, which began 50 years ago, and highlighted the potential for similar transformations in the Madhesh province of Nepal.
Mahesh Chhetri, Agribusiness Associate of GGGI, conducted an informative presentation on the “Terai Agribusiness and Enterprise Challenge Fund Operation Guideline” during the workshop. In his presentation, he elaborated on the sectors covered by the project and provided a breakdown of the number of grants that would be awarded to selected candidates over the course of three years. Mr. Chhetri also outlined the application process, including the necessary documents and forms that must be submitted to qualify for the grant. The Q&A session that followed was insightful, with Mr. Purusottam Gupta, Senior Project Coordination Officer, addressing participants’ questions and encouraging them to apply for the grant. Mr. Gupta also announced that local partners will be organizing business proposal training sessions to assist local individuals in preparing successful grant applications.
In the workshop, one major concern raised by farmers was whether the 30% deposit required of them should be made prior to receiving funds or after. Another question that arose was whether political influence plays a role in fund distribution and whether the selection process is fair. GGGI team addressed these questions and provided guidance on the proper procedures for accessing funds. Also, participants were reassured that the process is transparent and fair.
Finally, there was a suggestion from the audience that GGGI should expand its outreach efforts in other municipality too besides focusing only on 10 municipalities and work more closely with farmers at the grassroots level along with other service providers to address the impact of climate change. This highlights the importance of collaborative efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and build resilience in the face of environmental challenges.
Mr. Bisheshwor Prasad Yadav, Mayor, Kamala Municipality, shared that that large quantities of agricultural commodities are being imported from India, and thus pressed the need for empowering producers and consumers to go local. He hopes that the project will work in addressing this issue. Lalan Kumar Singh, chief of Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project (PMAMP), Mahottori, recommended that GGGI should prioritize the service and utilization of machinery, rather than providing grants for their purchase. Additionally, he advised that if GGGI plans to invest in custom hiring sector then it should be focused on custom hiring service centers. Furthermore, he emphasized the need for coordination with similar projects such as the Rural Enterprise and Economic Development (REED) and Developing Climate Resilient Livelihoods (DCRL) to enhance the impact of the Challenge Fund. Dr. Ram Chandra Yadav, chief of Agriculture Knowledge Centre (AKC) called for proper municipal level training on PCN writing to assist farmers who struggle with the process.
The valuable suggestions provided by Rabindra Mahatha, Lalan Kumar Singh, and Dr. Ram Chandra Yadav highlight the importance of inclusive and participatory approaches in promoting sustainable agriculture. We at GGGI remain committed to engaging with our partners in REED, DCRL, AKC and other stakeholders to enhance the impact of the TAECF. We also recognize the need for capacity building at the municipal level to ensure that farmers have access to the resources and knowledge necessary to write effective PCNs.
The TAECF, a major component of the KOICA-GGGI Climate Smart Agriculture project, is aimed at supporting micro and small enterprises engaged in the agriculture value chain. The TAECF aims to disburse USD 1.56 million in grants over a 3-year period and is set to attract women, youth (16-40 years) and returned migrant workers in the project districts: Dhanusha and Mahattori. The TAECF is now accepting concept notes from interested entities.