Poverty and unemployment are rampant in Nepal. Of the 2001 population of 23.15 million, 85 percent is rurally-based. However, with 75 percent of the country’s total area not suitable for agriculture combined with increasing environmental degradation and the decreasing productivity of croplands, forests and pastures, a sustainable form of livelihood through agriculture and farming is no longer possible for many families and communities. The vast majority of people in Nepal are very much food insecure and have been struggling hard for a sustainable livelihood. About 68 percent of all hill districts and 88 percent of all mountain districts in Nepal are food deficient. The slow agricultural growth rate implying stagnation in the agricultural sector during the past three decades has clearly demonstrated the relative failure of past agricultural development policies and has indicated the urgent need for a new approach. Only through the organization and empowerment of rural communities will sustainable management of natural and agricultural resources and basic livelihood rights be achieved.
Bio-intensive farming (BIF) is an integrated, multi-disciplinary, humanitarian approach to agriculture based on the empowerment of farming community for adopting intensive organic farming to meet the steadily increasing need of the community on sustained food supply and security. It is an eco-friendly concept which employs technology that is friendly to human and animal health, and nutrition. The concept is based on the empowerment of local Community-based Organizations (CBOs) and advocates for the rights of the farming community. The BIF technology is based on the utilization of indigenous and locally available technology resources and experiences. BIF advocates for equitable access to resources and equal respect to the diversity of the farming community and ecosystems.
Micro-credit development is a key factor that needs immediate attention for community development through optimum utilization of the existing local natural resources, human resources, and eco-friendly traditional technology and experience. Such activities include appropriate technical skill training and marketing management. WOREC has been implementing micro-enterprise development projects in Udayapur district for the last twelve years and in Dhanusha for the past three years. Knitting, tailoring, Dhaka cloth weaving, herbal garden management, production of medicinal herbs, etc. are the activities promoted by WOREC as micro-enterprise for rural women and girls.