Climate-smart farming in the Himalaya: an innovative green business model for food security and poverty reduction of mountainous communities of Nepal | Mission East

Climate-smart farming in the Himalaya: an innovative green business model for food security and poverty reduction of mountainous communities of Nepal


Project Status: 
Complete

Project Aims:

The goal of the project is to pilot test an innovative climate-smart agriculture and green business model for food and nutrition security, poverty reduction and resilience in remote western mountains of Nepal.

Objectives

The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Develop a green and fair agri-business model consisting of community-private partnership for the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products; 
  • Increase farm and labour productivity through capacity building, crop diversification and adoption of improved and climate smart farming practices including inputs and technologies; and
  • Facilitate processing and marketing of agricultural products (vegetable seeds and food crops) in domestic and international markets.
Nepal

Project Background:

The Karnali zone is the poorest region of Nepal despite its rich natural resources and biodiversity. Due to its remoteness, people are living under extreme poverty. Limited access to markets and work opportunities and low productivity of lands drag the population into the vicious spiral of deforestation, increased vulnerability to disasters and climate change, chronic food shortages and malnutrition. The people of Karnali are dependent on government and WFP food distributions and have limited access to arable lands, mostly rain fed, which can barely meet their food needs for 3 to maximum 6 months in a year.

The agricultural sector is unable to catch up with rapid changes and tap the potentials in terms of new technologies, viable products, emerging markets and business possibilities. It is mainly dominated by subsistence farming, traditional farming practices, land fragmentation,  low level of knowledge and suffers from low productivity and production. Farm producers are highly vulnerable due to huge uncertainty in market prices as there is no any established business model and value chain to deal with this situation. There is a widespread negative perception among local people towards farming as a menial and tedious activity with low social status partially due to the small returns and the use of traditional farming practices. These factors have led the rural people, especially youth, to migrate to urban areas and abroad in search of better livelihood opportunities and higher incomes. Over the past decade, the youth migration from rural areas for employment has been increasing. Approximately every day about 1,500 young people leave for foreign jobs and often leave their children and elderly family members behind. This has been negatively affecting the adoption of newer farming technologies, which would increase production and make rural entrepreneurial activities more successful.

Project Action:

Mission East and the Dutch NGO ICCO are collaborating with a private company (Innovative Agro-Solution) and a research & development institution (ANSAB) to engage 250 vulnerable households in sustainable agriculture and green business development based on a climate-smart agricultural model.

The proposed model is expected tol increase productivity of local climate-resistant crops three-fold, based on a solar pumping irrigation system using zero carbon emission technology, that will pump up the water from the Karnali river, and an Ecosystem based Commercial Agriculture developed by ANSAB, an approach that promotes organic fertilizer and pesticide use and new composting techniques.

The model is called Commercial Farming as it will not only address the food gap of local population but generate a food surplus that will be sold by local producer groups in a joint venture with private agro-business companies, to national and international buyers making the model economically viable and sustainable. For that 60 hectares of land will be irrigated and cultivated with seeds (with the produce being sold at the national and international level), green vegetables (for local markets and self-consumption) and rice (for self-consumption to address food shortages in the region). This first phase is a pilot phase and is expected to be expanded.

Donor:

AEC Fonden

Project Code:

NEP-AEC-06

Location:

Nepal. Bajura district.