INTRODUCTION: Nepal remains one of the least-developed nations in the world -- by official United Nations standards.
GV Katmandu and SV streets scenes in the city (2 shots)
SV Statue of Buddha and street scenes in the city, including tourists (3 shots)
SV TILT DOWN Pagoda and tourists shopping
GV PAN Village of Tupche and ZOOM IN TO hillside
SV Local farmers at lecture by IFAD expert (2 shots)
SV Boy with bullocks AND GV cultivated fields (2 shots)
CU Chickens PULL BACK TO farmer and wife (2 shots)
SV Farmers with cattle-drawn plough and using primitive implements (2 shots)
SV Farmers carry sacks of produce to central collective (3 shots)
GV Farmers at gathering of traditional dancing
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Nepal remains one of the least-developed nations in the world -- by official United Nations standards. With a percapita income of 114 dollars a year, most of Nepal's 14 million people live a hand-to-mouth existence, well below the poverty line. But a United Nations rural development programme is revolutionising one small area where a unique experiment is being carried out.
SYNOPSIS: This is Katmandu, capital of Nepal, where one million people now crowd together, looking for work.
The famous monkey temple is the city's most famous landmark, helping to draw the tourists who constitute this country's major industry. Today, both monks and monkeys have been driven away from the temple by an army of souvenir peddlers and beggars scavanging for a daily meal. Things are bad in Katmandu .... but they are even worse in the outlying country.
Outside the capital, forty per cent of the population live in what is described as absolute poverty. Only six per cent enjoy clean drinking water and the poorest fight a daily battle for survival. But for the farmers of this village, Tupche, four hours drive from Katmandu, life is changing. Here, some 15 farming families have been encouraged to band together to form a rural collective to grow more food, to encourage cattle farming and to start a cotton crop. This new system, launched under the auspices of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, is proving so successful that it is being extended to other parts of this underdeveloped country.
It meant a change of lifestyle. In semi-feudal conditions, farmers had learned to fight for themselves. Now they are being motivated to work together in rural collectives. But formerly landless farmhands are now working their own land. Money is being provided for them to buy bullocks and cows, for land work and milk production. And poultry farming is part of the scheme...egg production is now part of the community output.
The problem of persistent drought is also being eased, thanks to a scheme which provides water pumps which farmers can buy on credit.
The members of the collective take their harvest to a central point in Tupche, where the yield is registered for subsequent payment to the producer. Here in Tupche, the IFAD scheme is working wells and, as in farming communities the world over, a successful harvest is a cause for celebration. If the IFAD project succeeds, the celebrations in Nepal may be nationwide.