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Project Case Study

Reducing poverty in Nepal by making rural markets work

Increasing incomes for farmers and entrepreneurs to reduce poverty in rural areas

When Samarth began, 55% of Nepal’s population lived on less than $1.25 per day and 78% on less than $2. Inequalities disproportionately affected certain ethnic groups and especially women.

Samarth worked to improve the performance of anti-poverty programmes in rural areas, creating opportunities for poor and disadvantaged people.

Samarth-NMDP operated a diverse portfolio across 11 sectors, spanning: pigs, dairy, fish, feed, vegetables, ginger, mechanisation, crop protection inputs, agriculture reconstruction, tourism and media.

Project info

Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme


  • 2011 - 2018


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Sectors were specifically chosen for their potential to reduce poverty, achieve scale and outreach, for their feasibility and their relevance to public priorities, such as gender, social inclusiveness and the environment. The programme focused on causes rather than symptoms of underperformance in market systems, working to address the underlying systemic constraints.

Project success

  • Samarth increased the incomes of 247,800 women and men across 60 districts in Nepal between March 2012 and March 2018
  • More than 350,000 farmers and entrepreneurs changed their business practices as a result of the programme.
  • Among the farmers who saw increased incomes, 54% were women
  • Samarth’s tourism portfolio increased the quality and safety of trekking trails, significantly increased the marketing of Nepal’s tourism sector through social media, and built innovative cantilever pathways to link communities to markets and facilitate tourist access
  • After an earthquake in 2015, Samarth constructed 15 community seed storage facilities and over 1,000 cattle shelters. It facilitated the quick recovery of existing markets by mobilising existing market players, such as farmers’ cooperatives and seed companies.

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