On January 23rd 2018, Kiran Wagle (Foundation Enablement Nepal) and Saroj Yakami (MetaMeta) discuss challenges and solutions on disability in Nepal’s agriculture.
People with disabilities including those who adopted disabilities due to Leprosy are often discriminated and excluded from society. They lack access to socioeconomic development initiatives and decision-making processes. There is lack of enabling environment and tools to facilitate them to live a self-supporting, dignified life.
The most vulnerable people are often the first to be excluded from access to water, land and essential information about agricultural water management. Apart from social barriers, physical and environmental barriers exclude persons with disabilities from access to water, and hinder their socioeconomic empowerment, participation and inclusion.
In Nepal, this only compounds the barriers to access to water resources in the form of geopolitical factors and precipitation pattern (3-4 months of precipitation in a year). The need of water buffering to ensure a sustained supply for most of the year is a crucial aspect for sustainable (agriculture) water management.
Another big challenge in agriculture is youth migration from rural areas creating pressure on those who stays behind and increasing their vulnerability. Those left behind are mostly female, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs- including older people) who face increased difficulties working in their field and thus fall deeper into poverty.
Increasing options and opportunities available to persons with disabilities can improve their participation in economic and livelihood schemes. Agriculture is the main contributor to national GDP and highest self/employment in Nepal. A more inclusive agricultural sector and related enterprises can improve the participation, empowerment, inclusion and quality of life of PwDs in Nepal.
The project is being implemented by Enablement Nepal, Enablement Netherlands, MetaMeta, Agriculture and Forestry University-Nepal, and Netherlands Leprosy Relief. The project has been supported by Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI).
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