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iDE has worked in Nepal since 1992. From irrigation and good-quality seeds to, more recently, rural collection centers where farmers can sell their produce, we provide simple innovations that help rural communities get out of poverty and adapt to climate change.

Why we’re here—

Around two out of three Nepalis are engaged in agriculture, mainly growing crops on small plots of land using basic farming methods. Yet many Nepalis in rural communities still don’t have enough nutritious food to eat. Poor access to high-quality seed, fertilizer, irrigation pumps (and knowledge of how to use them), and markets makes it difficult for them to earn a living. As a result, more than half a million Nepalis work outside the country, 95 percent of them male. Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of these already marginalized people.

Shanu Rana

Shanu is a farmer in the Lalitpur District of Nepal, a region nestled amongst the mountaintops. Since 2006, we have been working with remote communities to install Multiple-Use Water Systems, enabling farmers like Shanu to irrigate their farms efficiently and effectively, while also providing water for homes.

iDE PC Nepal Extended Caption

(Photo by Bimala Colavito/iDE)

What matters—

Gender Equity

Not only is gender inequality high in Nepal, it is further complicated by discrimination based on ethnic, caste, and regional differences—Madhesi and Dalit women in the agricultural Terai Region are the most marginalized and excluded.

By focusing on women as customers and entrepreneurs, iDE strengthens their participation in rural value chains and increases their access to technology, know-how, finance, and markets.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Gender Equity.


In Nepal, nearly half of the children under five (an estimated 1.6 million) suffer from undernutrition.

By promoting high-value, nutritious crops, iDE empowers farmers to earn more income and provide their families and communities with a more varied diet, fueling them with the energy and mental ability they need to be successful. iDE also improves access to safe water and sanitation, keeping people healthy and able to absorb the nutrients gained from an improved diet.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Nutrition.

Food Security

Poverty and food insecurity go hand in hand in Nepal. Food insecurity tends to be most pronounced in mountain areas, where people suffer from hunger if assistance is not available.

By improving farmers’ access to high-quality seeds, technology, and farming best practices, iDE enhances their ability to increase production, growing their incomes and food availability in their communities, region, and country.

Learn more about iDE's commitment to Food Security.

Resilience to Climate Change

Nepal’s population is highly vulnerable to climate change effects due to their overwhelming dependence on natural resources for survival. Agriculture, forestry, and ecotourism are critical industries in Nepal.

iDE helps people in rural areas build their resilience to climate extremes through the use of water-saving and resource-smart agricultural technologies and practices.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Smart Technologies.

Power in numbers

Forming groups can improve farmers' access to markets

A farmer acting alone will often have to settle for less money in the small window of opportunity she has for selling. But what if this farmer can join with her neighbors, pooling their crops together to share storage and transportation costs, and provide a more attractive package for large buyers?

Read more: iDE's “commercial pocket” approach links farmers with each other and to the market

What works—

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Over the last 20 years, iDE has taken a leading role in the micro-irrigation revolution. We continue to develop low-cost, appropriate technologies for small producers, including drip systems, micro-sprinklers, treadle pumps, and water storage and distribution technologies. We invest in the design and initial promotion of these technologies, which private companies cannot afford to develop because they are unable to establish enforceable patent rights. Once popularized, these products are sustainably manufactured and marketed in the local private sector. 

iDE is establishing and scaling commercial pockets for small-scale farmers. The approach includes developing a sufficient volume of produce to attract buyers within community-managed collection centers. 

Learn more about iDE’s global Agriculture strategy.

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Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

iDE’s successful approach in building markets for sanitation improves water and sanitation in vulnerable communities by strengthening the capacity of small enterprises to manufacture and distribute affordable technologies and conducting social marketing campaigns to change household behavior.

Learn more about iDE’s global WASH Strategy.

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Access to Finance

Microfinance institutions are not well developed in Nepal, and the local banking sector does not provide loans to small-scale farmers due to their lack of collateral and high transaction costs. Therefore, iDE identified a solution that uses the Nepalese government’s Youth Self Employment Fund Program, where commercial banks must allocate one-third of their 3 percent derived loan portfolio to loans for young entrepreneurs at 10 to 12 percent interest without collateral. Collaborating with the Ministry of Finance and commercial banks, iDE will provide skills training to poor farmers and certify successful completion, enabling their access to loans. iDE further assists the farmers in creating business plans that demonstrate the return on investment for micro-irrigation and MUS.

Learn more about iDE’s global Access to Finance strategy.

Active listening

Community Business Facilitators achieve sales in Nepal

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in South Asia and still has large gaps in sanitation coverage. Despite gradual improvements, only about 43 percent of the population has access to toilets, while more than half the population continues to defecate openly.

Read more: Training local agents to be successful salespeople achieves results

Main Office

P.O.Box 2674
Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977-1-5520943
Fax: +977-1-5533953

Our partners—


  • Big Lottery Fund
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Chance for Change
  • CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
  • European Commission
  • Frankfurt School
  • Grand Challenges Canada
  • International Water Management Institute
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Kohler
  • Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
  • Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church
  • Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
  • Renewable World
  • Saga Charitable Trust
  • United Kingdom’s Department for International Development
  • United States Agency for International Development
  • World Food Programme