Category: Environment
MAKE THE PLANTS BETTER IRRIGATED AND THE WORLD BETTER FED

Shweta Adhikari and Shreena Pradhan

Agriculture and Forestry University, Chitwan

Agriculture in Nepal has for so long been dependent on rainfall. A drought year brings along
famine with it while a deluge year brings along diseases and destructions of crops. Either way,
rain-fed farming isn’t a safe bet for a country as under-nourished and food-insecure as ours.

Considering these conditions, a permanent solution of providing the plant optimum water is a
must. Plants can be well watered not only through irrigation but by protecting them from further
loss. Mulching has been mentioned in the video as a method not to provide water, but to save it
from the soil. And rain water harvesting has been mentioned as a solution to uneven distribution
during drought period.

Drip irrigation, whose information hasn’t made it into the short video is a new technique taking
the rural part of Nepal by storm recently. It provides right amount of water to the right part and
at the right time. This not only ensures water prevention but also effective use of limited water.

Another method mentioned in gist in the video is the using of sewage processed water in agricultural
fields. This ensures minerals are recycled back into the nature.

We made this video for an assignment from an organization we volunteered for. Looking back, we’ve
realized a lot of things we didn’t know a year ago. And irrigation scenario isn’t all we’re lacking on.
It’s about video making, using of the internet, using social media and fully expose to ICT. Back then, we
weren’t as adept not only in sharing knowledge but also acquiring it. We didn’t realize what a vast
platform the internet is.

One more realization we had was that the only way to learn is by initiating first. Making mistakes
and lacking coordination is the best initiator of learning. We now know what vast opportunities are
open ahead of us for leaning and exposing. We’re glad to have done this mediocre first attempt for
we’re now more flexible to changes and more accepting of new challenges.

Climate Change impacts and adaptation: Story from my village

Agriculture has always been the art of managing uncertainties and adopting to changing scenarios especially on the small holder farms of mid hill of Nepal. Syangja, where I was born is mountainous district characterized by steep slopes, deeply dissected by rivers and streams. Farming communities comprise a high percentage of low income household solely reliant on natural resources and agriculture for livelihood.

I belong to an agrarian family where farming had been followed by many of my ancestors and is still major source of income. I have to go to my village to help my parents with cultivating and harvesting rice and other field crops. Beside field crops my district is famous for citrus, Coffee and ginger production. I am currently pursuing my graduation in Agriculture. When I started my Bachelor’s level study I became more aware about climate change issues, it became vivid that there are lots of changes that have created by climate change in an agriculture sector. When I ask my grandparents about time of cultivating rice during their childhood, they replied me that the timing of planting crop

Youth and Climate change

Mountainous landscape of Nepal.

s are shifting with onset of rainfall. Whenever I go to village and have discussion with the villagers about agriculture practices I feel different scenarios of climate change and its impacts in agriculture. Farmers begin to substitute rice crop in khet land (irrigated) with crop which are less water demanding such as finger millets and wheat. Oranges are ripening few months earlier in October in comparison with December in previous years. Mustard was successfully sown in late September but now it needs to be planted in early to mid September to produce the same yield. There is decreasing frequency but increasing intensity of rainfall during summer while delays or complete absence of winter rain. Farming in very difficult condition, often with small fragmented land holdings and no proper irrigation made farmers to be dependent on rainfall and precipitation for agriculture practices.
When I was studying my primary school at my village there were lots of villagers being engaged in farming but the scenario is quite different now. Only woman, children, aged people and few youth are left where rest left the village for seeking opportunities in cities and foreign land. This even changed the landscape of my village, where I find agriculture land being turned into barren and forest area. Its obvious that mountainous region suffers from high exposure of natural disasters such as floods and landslides, erratic rainfall patterns, prolonged drought and hailstorms.
Number of adaptations is being made by local farmers to increase productivity of crops and mitigate against the climate change impacts. Mixing cropping system is being introduced to reduce the risk of complete crop failure due to drought or untimely heavy rainfall. For ex:Maize with beans, coffee and citrus, grass and cardamom being planted at the edge of terrace field to stabilize the soil and reduce risk of soil erosion and land slips. Youth clubs, Women’s group, Community groups along with District Development Committee has been working for mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts through awareness program, Local seed saving program, Community forest program and Women empowerment programs.
Farmers of mid hills must take the lead. They are on the front line, they made everyday observation and the lives and livelihood of their families are wholly dependent on farming. There are plenty of challenges ahead. To cope with climate change impacts a concrete plan of action is felt necessary. Women are more vulnerable for climate change impacts; plan of action should focus for mitigation and adaptation measures building their capacity to combat climate change impacts.

 

Agritourism: Gandaki Rainbow Trout Farm in the Spotlight

Having crossed 20 springs in my life, I have never seen such positive impact of agritourism in any locality. Bhurjungkhola in Sardikhola VDC of western Nepal has well integrated two major income generating sources of Nepalese livelihood, i.e. Agriculture and Tourism to uplift the standard of the community. The Bhunpare-Ghalekharka trekking route under Annapurna Conservation Area Project and the Tatopani pilgrimage Site were the well known examples of the popularity of the tourism industry in the local community in this VDC. However, both of these sites never really attracted Tourists in the prolonged basis as the former site is now in verge of extinction after the establishment of the roadway transport in the area and the latter being completely destroyed by the disastrous Seti river Glacial breakdown in the early 2011. At present days, the effort of two people: Amrit Gurung and Lakschin Gurung originally from this same VDC have now played a significant role in promoting Agri-tourism business in this region.

Gandaki Rainbow Trout Farm
Located about 217 KM north west from the capital city of Nepal Kathmandu, the then grazing land has now been changed into Gandaki Rainbow trout fish farm. The two Gurungs perfomed trial on the fish farming 3 years ago with the initial investment of 0.3 million. After finding the water quality most suitable for the Trout fish species, extra 6.5 million was spent on building the infrastructure for fish farming and a restaurant for center of distribution of the fish. This agriculture farm attracts around 3500 tourists (internal and external) monthly and has made remarkable changes in economic, social and cultural aspects of the community. Being named as the Agriculture pocket model area by the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce, this farm has taken the agriculture sector to the next step. The local organic vegetables ( Tusa, kurilo, Neuro) have been consumed by the restaurant and purchased by the tourists. The vegetable products have got market in this place which has reduced the transportation cost of farmers.

farming community in nepal

Photo: Local people using traditional tool to protect from rain

According to Gurung, the arrival of tourists teaches a lot of things, generally there is change in fashion, lifestyle and daily language of people.The rapid economic return of the products gives a lot of encouragement to the farmers.Bambahadur Gurung, Sarad Singh Bhandari, Indra Gauchan are the list of names who have followed the footsteps of the two Gurungs utilizing the climatic suitability of the area for farming. Likewise, Preetilal Gurung, Bhawendra…..and many other farmers have invested in commercial agriculture as their product have received reasonable price and nearby market. Bishnu Devi Acharya, a local inhabitant says the level of confidence is high among the farmers as they have now got a role model as the owner of farm. The increase in income of the farmers has enabled them to establish a cooperative which provides loan to farmers in minimal interest rate.
Thus,the impact seems overwhelming for the local peoples , yet they have a long way to go in establishing their village as a top agritiourism destination on national and international basis.
Watch this video that i prepare during my expedition exploring Gandaki Rainbow Trout Farm

Climate change impacts and adaptation: Story from my Nepalese village
Farming Landscape in Nepal

A nepalese farming landscape. Farmers living among the hills are facing multiple challenges due to climate change. Photo: Crop Trust

This story won the CCAFS open blog competition for the South Asia region.
Blog post Source :CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security 


Madan Poudel, a youth agriculture activist and student from Nepal, is feeling the heat in his village. This is his personal story on how climate change is affecting his community, and how farmers are trying to adapt to an increasingly variable climate.

Agriculture has always been the art of managing uncertainties and adapting to changing scenarios especially on the smallholder farms in Nepal. Syangja, where I was born, is mountainous district characterized by steep slopes, deeply dissected by rivers and streams.

Farming communities comprise a high percentage of low income households solely reliant on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihood.

I belong to an agrarian family where farming had been followed by many of my ancestors and is still a major source of income. I have to go to my village to help my parents with cultivating and harvesting rice and other field crops. Beside field crops my district is famous for citrus, coffee and ginger production.

I am currently pursuing my graduation in agriculture. When I started my Bachelor’s level study I became more aware about climate change issues. It became vivid to me that there were lots of changes in Nepal and the agriculture sector, created by a changing climate.

When I ask my grandparents about the timing of cultivating rice, they replied to me that the timing of planting crops is now shifting with onset of rainfall. Whenever I go to the village and have discussions with the villagers about agriculture practices, I feel different scenarios of climate change and its impacts in agriculture.

Increasingly variable climate calls for adaptation

There is decreasing frequency but increasing intensity of rainfall during summer while delays or complete absence of rain in the winter. The mountainous regions suffer from high exposure of natural disasters such as floods and landslides, erratic rainfall patterns, prolonged drought and hailstorms.

Farming in very difficult conditions, often with small fragmented land holdings and no proper irrigation forced farmers to become dependent on rainfall and precipitation for agriculture practices.

On top of that, we are seeing how crop production is changing. Oranges are ripening in October, when in previous years, it used to be December. Mustard was successfully sown in late September but now it needs to be planted in early- to mid-September to produce the same yield.

To cope with a changing climate, farmers are beginning to substitute rice crop in khet land (irrigated) with crops that are less water demanding, such as finger millets and wheat.

There are other adaptation activities being carried out by local farmers to increase productivity of crops and mitigate against the climate change impacts. Mixing cropping system is being introduced to reduce the risk of complete crop failure due to drought or untimely heavy rainfall. For example maize with beans, coffee and citrus, grass and cardamom being planted at the edge of terrace field to stabilize the soil and reduce risk of soil erosion and land slides.

Youth clubs, women’s groups, community groups along with District Development Committees have been working to achieve mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts through awareness programs like local seed saving programs, community forest program and women empowerment programs.

Women and elders left to farm as others seek opportunities elsewhere

When I was studying in primary school, there were lots of villagers engaged in farming, but the scenario is quite different now. Women, children, the elderly and a few youths are left behind as the rest of the villagers leave to seek better opportunities in cities and foreign countries.

This even changed the landscape of my village, where agricultural land is being turned into barren and forrested areas.

Women are more vulnerable to climate change impacts. A plan of action should focus for mitigation and adaptation measures building their capacity to combat climate change impacts.

A call to action for Nepal’s farmers

For now, farmers of mid hills in Nepal must take the lead. They are on the front line. They make everyday observation and their lives and livelihood of their families are completely dependent on farming. There are plenty of challenges ahead. To cope with climate change impacts a concrete plan of action with input from the farmers is very necessary.

Image Credit : Crop Trust