The Administrator of USAID Dr. Rajiv Shah and Deputy Administrator Denise Rollins have just been to visit iDE’s work in Nepal. Dr. Shah leads the efforts of more than 9,600 professionals in 80 USAID missions around the world. Since 2009, Dr. Shah has managed the U.S. Government’s response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; co-chaired the State Department’s first review of American diplomacy and development operations; and now spearheads President Barack Obama’s landmark Feed the Future food security initiative.
Why did they visit?
The main purpose the visit was to look at ‘scaling up’ agricultural projects, or reaching huge numbers of food insecure, malnourished people. Dr. Shah and Denise were very impressed by iDE Nepal’s innovative, cost-effective work using the private sector to reach scale, especially for drip irrigation. They both felt that iDE’s approach which ensures that the very poorest farmers adopt technologies like drip is a vital form of assistance, and that the extra income farmers’ receive can have a life-changing impact. For example one of the farmers that Dr Shah visited is now earning about $1,500 a year. She is able to send her children to college and has built a new house.
- A poor farmer using drip irrigation technology. He was impressed with the cost, profitability and positive impact of using drip irrigation.
- Different types of tanks for water storage, including the low cost soil cement tank supported by the Gates Foundation.
- Two women farmers using Integrated Pest Management – a pest control technique used to maximise crop production – to manage vegetable nursery.
The visit of Dr. Shah and Denise Rollins of USAID was a great success. John Stam head of the SEED office (Agriculture and Environment) who accompanied them whilst visiting the projects expressed this was the best site that Dr. Shah’s and Denise had visited. They all thanked iDE Nepal for showing them the project and said we should expect more visits!