Agricultural Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) initiated the SFDP in 1975. It was the first target group approach program, specifically designed for small and marginal destitute in rural areas. SFDP was an integrated program that consisted of loan and saving services, social mobilization and leadership development. Its impact on the life quality of the targeted people was very rapid and effective: they became more educated, skilled and empowered through the SFDP. Consequently, they requested from ADBL to hand over the SFDP’s management to their own Small Farmers Agro-Cooperatives Ltd (SFACL), a unique microfinance cum social mobilization model in Nepal. A systematic approach was used for the transformation of the SFDP with the help of GTZ, who assisted throughout the whole process (institutional development, capacity enhancement of cooperative workers/leaders and coordination with the line agencies). Since 1993, ADBL has been gradually handing over the SFDP to SFACLs.
Increasing numbers of SFACLs faced different sets of problems, such as gaining access to markets, acquiring new technical and management skills, obtaining loan and credit services, etc. Subsequently, they decided to fight poverty by federating their cooperatives into a strong network. According to the Cooperative Act of Nepal, cooperative networks should be organized in five tiers: primary cooperatives, subjective federation, district cooperative federation, central subjective cooperative federation and national cooperative federation. In 1997, SFACLs federated into a subjective federation at the district level according to the Act. However, in the process, SFACL Dhading faced legal difficulties after it was told by the Department of Cooperative that “small farmers” appellation could not be registered as a subjective federation. Moreover, in order to form a federation you needed, according to the Act, to regroup nine regional federations together so that they would form a substantive enough collectivity. The first half of the last decade was dedicated to the formation of this collectivity.
After more than a decade’s working in district level, need of central federation was realized to cater SFACLs working in different part of the country. Some of the cooperative leaders working in district level initiated for registration of NACCFL. Once NACCFL was registered in 2008 it continued to expand its representation throughout all the regions in Nepal in order to offer services to a maximum of households. As a result, as of December 2017, there are 860 SFACLs in 71 districts across the country for a total of over 820,200 households members. NACCFL is steady looking forward to enlarge its network so that it can improve the range of financial and non-financial services offered to the member cooperatives.