CASA’s Agriculture Market Responses to the Global Food Security and Fertilizer Crisis 

Sustainable agriculture
CASA is a six-year programme (2019-2024) funded by FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office UK) to increase economic opportunities for smallholder farmers by demonstrating the commercial viability of businesses with significant smallholder supply chains, and by attracting more investment into the sector. CASA is managed by the development consulting agency NIRAS in partnership with Swisscontact and CABI (The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International), and works in Nepal, Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia. 

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues to disrupt the global trade and pricing of key foods along with fertilisers and fuel, the impact is felt heavily by countries such as Nepal which is highly dependent on fertiliser and agricultural imports to feed its population. As an immediate response to the burgeoning crisis, CASA has been adapting its interventions to address the risk of rising food insecurity and support the UK pledge in June 2017 of “£17.7 million through the FCDO’s Green Growth Centre of Expertise to improve the effective use of fertilizer and increase food production in countries". 

Attracting investment into food production and better use of fertilizers

According to the latest report, Nepal's ever-swelling agricultural imports hit the NRs 400 billion (GBP 2.7 billion) in 2021, prompting experts to warn that a farming country becoming so dependent on imported food indicates a full-blown emergency in terms of food security. 

CASA Nepal has pivoted activities to ensure improved food production and better use of fertilizers in response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. It has extended on-going partnerships in the dairy sector and vegetable sector to combat food insecurity and nutrition; and entered into new partnerships as a response to rising prices and unavailability of chemical fertilizers and animal feed. 

FCDO will present a short case study of CASA responses to the G7 club of donors, to illustrate how the UK official development assistance contributed to G7s’ food security and nutrition commitments in response to the global impacts of the war of aggression against Ukraine.

Establishing strong partnerships

Paicho Pasal to increase vegetable production

With CASA's support, Paicho – an agro based company in Nepal – provides trainings on Good Agriculture Practices and post-harvest management to farmers. It also trains farmers on issues relating to food and nutrition security, such as vulnerability mapping and analysis for better planning.

"Agriculture is the only sector in the country that is capable of mass production, but we have not been able to capitalize on it and export … we have not been able to even meet the local demand market owing to challenges in channeling and logistics management."
Durga Prasad Bhandari, Paicho Pasal

With seamless access to guaranteed markets, timely advisory services and better prices, farmers are now increasing production yields, quality and incomes to combat food insecurity. Importantly, greater direct engagement between the private sector actors and Smallholder Farmers (SHFs)  supports commercialization of the sector. CASA is now assisting Paicho to obtain investment for expansion from a number of equity investors.

Iman Singh Rana, a commercial farmer and supplier of Paicho Pasal - tending to his tomato farm in Chatrakot, Gulmi. Paicho directly sources Agri-produce from rural smallholder farmers, providing them with market connectivity through its outlets and supports farmers to improve productivity and produce quality. 
Photo Credit: Ritu Poudyal - Swisscontact

National Biotech to promote Organic Fertiliser

To offset the surging price of imported chemical fertilizers and its decreasing availability, CASA supports National Biotech in encouraging the use of internationally certified organic fertilizers among farmers and Agrovets and ensures demand generation through awareness campaign and demonstration plots. National Biotech provides farmer trainings to build knowledge on the “4Rs” (applying the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place).

Goras to promote forage based dairy production

In response to the surging price of imported commercial feed concentrate, CASA supports Goras Green Feed & Resource Pvt. Ltd. to roll-out commercial production of forage seeds and green forage for animal feed and ensure continued availability and access to quality and affordable forage feed by smallholder producers. Goras builds awareness of farmers on the benefits of a balanced diet of forage and feed, that can reduce cost of production and increase productivity of cattle. It promotes forage as a near and cheaper alternative to commercial concentrate and under-nutritious rice straw. This reduces dependence on imported animal feed and lowers farmers’ operating costs, saving money that now goes towards household expenses such as nutritious food.

Improving hygiene in the raw milk supply chain

With CASA's support, the Central Dairy Cooperative Association Nepal (CDCAN) and local dairy cooperatives train farmers to ensure the hygienic production of milk. CASA facilitates curriculum development and training of trainers for the dairy cooperatives. These deliver training in good manufacturing practices to farmers which addresses the cost of production and improves production and productivity.

Local dairy farmers learn about hygienic production and handling of milk
One of the CASA Dairy SME partners processing quality milk

Ensuring access to business services, finance and investment for dairy production

Via the development of a business plan and investment pitch, CASA supported Mahila Samudayik Sewa Kendra (MSSK) to secure investment to construct a new dairy plant. It is now working with MSSK to improve productivity and production of milk through Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) trainings and promote the use of milk and dairy products as nutritional foods. 


Production staff of Mahila Samudayik Sewa Kendra
Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia
Sustainable agriculture
Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness Programme
The project aims to involve smallholder farmer businesses sustainably in agricultural value chains, thereby improving their living conditions and economic situation. By building inclusive agricultural systems, smallholder farmers will have improved access to markets, information, and means of production. Additionally, the project emphasizes...