Poverty falls to 33.1 per cent in six districts

Incidence of poverty has come down by 17.40 percentage points in the last seven years in six districts where the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) is operating its programmes, a latest report says.

Poverty rate, on average, stood at 50.7 per cent of the population in Doti, Dailekh, Jumla, Rolpa, Rautahat and Humla districts in 2007. That rate fell to 33.1 per cent in 2014, shows the report, ‘Socio-economic Changes in PAF Intervention Households in Nepal’, prepared by the Centre for Economic Development and Administration (CEDA) of Tribhuvan University (TU) based on survey conducted in 2,800 households.

This means poverty rate in the six districts declined at an average of 2.49 per cent per year between 2007 and 2014, as against national average poverty reduction rate of 0.8 per cent per annum. The national poverty rate stood at 25.2 per cent of the population in 2010-11, as per the National Living Standard Survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

PAF, established in 2003 to reduce incidence of poverty in the country, defines poverty based on level of food sufficiency. Those with food sufficiency of less than three months are categorised as ‘hardcore poor’. Those with food sufficiency of more than three months but less than six months are classified as ‘medium poor’, while those with food sufficiency of over six months but less than a year are categorised as ‘poor’.

When the survey was conducted, it was found that per capita consumption had largely gone up in the six districts where the programmes of PAF were operating, indicating rise in income level.

Per capita consumption in the six districts stood at Rs 14,826 per year in the year 2007-08, says the survey. The amount went up to Rs 36,440 in 2013-14, marking a rise of 145.78 per cent in the seven-year period, or 20.83 per cent, on average, per year.

In between 2003-04 and 2010-11, average per capita consumption in the country had gone up from Rs 15,848 per year to Rs 34,829 — up 119.76 per cent or 17.10 per cent per year.

“With this, we can say, per capita consumption in the six districts where PAF is operating its programmes was higher than national average,” said TU Association Professor Yogendra Gurung, one of the four authors of the report that was released here today.

The PAF generally operates its activities by establishing community organisations, each of which comprises 25 to 30 poor households. Such community organisations create revolving funds, using which their members engage in self-employment or set up cottage or micro enterprises. So far, PAF has established around 26,000 community organisations in 55 districts where it is operating.

Data collected from the six districts show 79.03 per cent of community organisation members are engaged in livestock farming, 12.47 per cent in trading, 5.75 per cent in agriculture and other activities, 1.47 per cent in services sector and 0.73 per cent in manufacturing and 0.55 per cent in capacity building activities.

Source: THT