The European Union has agreed to fund agriculture projects, in partnership with the Church-based social action group Caritas, in Nepal, Bangladesh and India to assist small farmers to cope with the effects of global climate change. The program, titled “Building Resilience to Climate Change through Strengthening Adaptive Small Scale Farming Systems in Rain-fed Areas in Bangladesh, India and Nepal”, was launched last week during a five-day workshop. Father Silas Bogati, director of Caritas Nepal, said the joint South Asian project was a five-year program scheduled to run through March 2016, with the EU providing 600,000 euros (US$860,000) to about 1,000 farmers in the western districts of Kaski, Nawalparasi and Bardiya. He said about 50 percent of the target recipients would be women, with members of hill tribe minorities comprising about 40 percent of the target group. Kamal Khadka, program director for Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development, a partner of Caritas Nepal, said the funding was crucial to South Asia. “Bangladesh, India and Nepal rank first, second and fourth in terms of vulnerability to global climate change.” Lluis Navarro, charge d’affaires of the EU mission to Nepal, and Australian Ambassador to Nepal Susan Grace, attended the launch of the workshop. “Research and dissemination of improved agronomic practices for small farm holders can play a critical role to increase farm production and, hence, promote local food and nutritional security,” Navarro said. He added that the EU has invested 23.3 million euros in the last two years in Nepal as part of its Global Program on Agriculture Research for Development.
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