Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Sanjaya DeSilva

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This project analyzes aid work conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nepal’s agricultural sector. Establishing a theoretical grounding for analysis, the project begins by exploring the importance of critique within the international development framework. Following this, an overview is presented of the many factors which affect agriculture in Nepal. Thus regionally situated, the project reviews foreign development work in Nepal, with a historical overview followed by a theoretical examination of market-based aid, institutions, and aid interventions’ interactions with institutions and civil society in Nepal. Narrowing in focus, an analysis is presented of USAID’s current and recently completed agro-technological interventions related to micro-irrigation and hybrid maize seed. The findings of this analysis argue that USAID’s agro-technology interventions are complicated first by U.S. private interests (resulting in opportunities for exploitation of market access provided by aid projects) and secondly by various conflicting interests within Nepal (leading to elite capture and increased local inequality). A clear disconnect between Nepali farmers and USAID in relation to the level of involvement of aid’s targeted population in program design and implementation results in the displacement of already functioning institutions as well as a lack of accountability of USAID to Nepali farmers. Moving beyond the Nepal-specific context, this analysis emphasizes the absence of defined constituency in aid organizations and the resulting lack of direct accountability of aid organizations to the communities in which they work.

Distribution Options

Access restricted to On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.

Bard Off-campus Download

Bard College faculty, staff, and students can login from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Bard username and password.