The Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme (NAMDP), also known as Sahaj (Nepali for ‘facilitate’ or ‘make easier’), is designed with three successive phases spanning across a 12-year horizon. Sahaj’s objectives are based on a vision of a thriving and inclusive agriculture sector, aiming to grow employment and income for Nepal’s rural population.

NAMDP is a joint initiative of the Government of Nepal and the Government of Switzerland. Funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the programme focuses on the Koshi Province. NAMDP follows a combination of Market Systems Development (MSD) and Inclusive Markets. While Phase I (March 2016-November 2020) had a clear mandate to bring about change at the level of smallholder farmers, Phase II (December 2020-November 2024) will focus more on investment, growth, and job creation along the entire agricultural value chain, including for exports.

To trigger this, NAMDP will use a Challenge Fund (CF) mechanism to increase provision of services and access to innovation in the maize, dairy, cardamom and vegetable value chains while also leveraging private sector resources.

About SCF

Sahaj Challenge Fund intends to contribute to increasing employment and value-add in the agricultural sectors (maize, dairy, cardamom and vegetable) of the Koshi Province in Nepal. Sahaj CF aims to reduce risk, encourage innovation, and in doing so, push for solutions. The CF would mainly issue grants to co-finance the costs involved in developing and piloting new Koshi Province-tailored-business models and solutions, reducing the commercial risk hurdle. 

The SCF would look at proposals that address the following: 

  • Business responding to market constraints
  • Business that are innovative
  • Business that are inclusive, target women, marginalised groups and other disadvantaged groups (DAGs)
  • Business that will be sustainable after Sahaj’s funding and have the potential to scale up

The above are few non-exhaustive solutions. SCF is looking for solutions which in general should support the long-term, sustainable operation of services related to Branding, Packaging and Distribution Channel of the cardamom, maize, dairy and vegetable value chains.

Guiding Principles

The SCF is guided by several principles. These are not specific procedures but present an approach that is adopted across the stages and phases of the fund and will also largely guide the assessment of applications.

  • Competitive process
  • Innovation
  • Cost-sharing
  • Scalability
  • Transparency 
  • Additionality
  • Competition
  • Reciprocity
  • Impact
  • Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)
  • Green growth, climate change

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