KATHMANDU, July 17: The European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Nepal’s vital sectors by allocating EUR 12 million (approximately NPR 1.7 billion) for the Agriculture and Rural Development Program and EUR 4.7 million (approximately NPR 660 million) for School Sector Development.
The EU has been a steadfast partner in Nepal’s progress, investing EUR 36 million (approximately NPR 5 billion) in the Agriculture and Rural Development Program since 2019 and EUR 81 million (approximately NPR 11.3 billion) in the School Sector Development since 2016.
EU Ambassador Nona Deprez extended congratulations to the authorities for the remarkable achievements in both sectors since the launch of the Agriculture Development Strategy in 2015 and the School Sector Development Program in 2016.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, these sectors have demonstrated resilience and have been pivotal in overcoming the crisis. The EU’s direct support to Nepal’s treasury has been instrumental in bolstering agriculture and education, and the partnership between the EU and Nepal in these fields remains strong for the future.
Education is the bedrock of future growth and prosperity. The Government’s School Sector Development Program has made substantial strides in ensuring access to quality education, even amidst the complexities of adapting to the federal system and the COVID-19 crisis. Notably, the program has succeeded in limiting learning losses and improving retention rates, particularly for girls. A follow-up initiative, the School Education Sector Plan, will further enhance inclusive and quality education, with additional backing from the European Union and Finland under the Team Europe approach.
Similarly, the agriculture sector has played a pivotal role in stabilizing Nepal’s economy during and post COVID-19 pandemic by providing employment opportunities. With increased budget allocations from the government, GDP growth from agriculture has been sustained. Thanks to the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS), Nepal has managed to maintain its forest cover, boost GDP through agri-businesses, and achieve self-sufficiency in chicken eggs, meat, and powdered milk production.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, with the aid of an EU-funded technical assistance team, has successfully extended the ADS to provincial and local levels, facilitating the development of provincial strategies and active engagement with local governments.
The Ministry’s comprehensive monitoring of ADS achievements highlighted the challenges in reducing the food trade deficit. The monitoring results will be instrumental in shaping the new National Agriculture Policy and the new National Agriculture Extension Strategy, both pivotal in realizing the ADS vision for 2035: “a self-reliant, sustainable, competitive, and inclusive agricultural sector that drives economic growth and contributes to improved livelihoods, food, and nutrition security leading to food sovereignty.”