Food security & livelihoods   golam rasul, senior economist
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Food security & livelihoods golam rasul, senior economist

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Food Security in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya Region ...

Food Security in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya Region


Long term food security is a broad development issue. Food security cannot be achieved without enhancing livelihood options, and the livelihoods of poor communities cannot be improved unless productive resources, such as water, land, forest, rangeland, biodiversity, and the natural environment are conserved and their access and optimal utilization are ensured. From the mountain perspective it is, therefore, necessary to take a holistic approach. A sustainable strategy for improving the food security calls for a package of measures including strengthening up-stream down-stream relationships:

a. Enhancing income through mountain niche-based products and resource endowments as well as enhancing livelihood options by promoting non-farm employment opportunities through rural enterprise development, mountain tourism, and higher economic value addition in marketable products;

b. Reducing risks and vulnerabilities of loss of assets, crops, and lives from natural hazards through facilitating early warning systems and establishing data and information sharing as the HKH region is more prone to natural hazards;

c. Developing options, ideas, and institutional arrangements to protect and develop watershed resources such as land, forest, water, and biodiversity, thereby sustaining and enhancing ecosystem services, which are not only the primary basis of production but that are also sources of economic (medicinal and aromatic plants, raw materials for rural enterprises, uncultivated foods, water for irrigation), environmental (regulating climate), and social well-being through supporting several self-provisioning livelihood systems.

d. Facilitating a more productive use of remittances, as mountain areas have become part of a large remittance economy, through policy and knowledge inputs that will improve food security by stimulating rural investment and employment opportunities.

e. Developing options, methodologies, and institutional mechanisms to compensate mountain communities for the vital environmental services whom they are the custodians of, such as water, flood control, biodiversity conservation, climate regulation, dry season water flow, as well as other tangible and intangible environmental services.
f. Facilitating adaptation and building resilience to achieving long-term food security through providing relevant data, information and knowledge generated through ICIMOD and its partner’s research on climate change, glacier melting, temperature change, air pollution including ‘brown cloud’ haze . Because the agricultural productivity of the HKH region and adjacent plains of the eight regional member countries is heavily dependent on the availability of dry season water from the Himalayan glaciers, which have been shrinking due to global warming and poses a serious threat to long-term food production sustainability of the entire region.

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  • 1. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development Kathmandu, Nepal Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region International Workshop on Adaptations and Resilience of Local Communities in the HKH, Hamburg, Germany 9th-11th October, 2011 Golam Rasul, Theme Leader, Livelihoods
  • 2. Outline 1. Background 2. Emerging issues & challenges 3. Potentials & Opportunities 4. Pathways towards a sustainable livelihoods & food security
  • 3. Background
  • 4. Mountain Livelihoods is Complex & Diverse Livelihood Systems Forest, range & pasture & watershed Livestock Field crops Off-farm income Nutrients Conservation Protection Food, cash Fuel wood, fodder, timber Meat, woo l, milk cash and service Cash, food security Animal power Nutrient Fodder, shed InputsInputs Interdependencies and inter-linkages of Livelihood systems and water
  • 5. Mountain Livelihoods is Complex & Diverse Farm household Food security Forest, range & pasture & watershed Livestock Field crops Crops, horticul ture, agro- forestry Off-farm income Migration, wage labor, trade, etc Nutrients Conservation Protection Food, cas h Fuel wood, fodder, timber Meat, woo l, milk cash & service Cash income Animal power Nutrient Fodder, shed InputsInputs Interdependencies and inter-linkages of Livelihood systems and water
  • 6. Background • Land use: 63% pasture, 21% forest, 11% protected area only 5% agricultural land • Livelihoods- HH Income - 48% from farm, 28% off-farm, 11% remittances, 13% from other sources (FAO, 2011) • Agriculture largely subsistence- Low irrigation coverage 4.4 % in Nepal, 9% in India • 30 million people depends on livestock & pasture in the HKH region
  • 7. Food Security • 65 % population food insecure • - Food deficiency- 65 to 80 % households food deficient - 5 to 6 months • In Nepal: per-capita food deficit is 37 kg in mountain, 23 kg in hills and have a surplus of 24 kg in Terai of Nepal (FAO, 2011) • Poor Access to safe drinking water – e.g., only 37% households in Manipur of India has the access to clean drinking water.
  • 8. Energy Security • Rural people largely depends on firewood for cooking • 64.8 % households at Himalayan region of India depends on firewood – in Uttarkhand it is 86.3%. • In certain districts in Nepal, over 90 % households use firewood for cooking •
  • 9. Poverty incidence
  • 10. Poverty incidence • Pakistan 38 out of 120 districts are considered poor. Majority of these districts fall in Baluchistan & NWFP & almost all districts in the FATA (Kaspersma; 2007). States % Relative (India average = 100) Arunachal Pradesh 33.47 128 Assam 36.09 138 Manipur 28.54 110 Meghalaya 33.87 130 Mizoram 19.47 75 Nagaland 32.67 126 Sikkim 36.56 140 Tripura 34.44 132 Uttaranchal 47.42 182 All India average 26.1 100 Population below poverty line in selected hill states in India
  • 11. Purpose • Essential question is - how to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty, increase food security • Understand – Emerging issues & challenges- driving factors – Options and opportunities – Suggest strategies to improve livelihoods & food security
  • 12. 2. Emerging Issues and Challenges –Socio-economic –Climatic
  • 13. Key Trends • Increased integration to national, regional & global markets • Agribusiness, contact farming emerging in HKH region • Increased outmigration: women are taking greater role in agriculture and other economic activities
  • 14. Fragility Vulnerability Marginality Inaccessibility Adaptation mechanism Diversity Niches Mountain specificities Livelihoods & Food Security in a changing context • Subsistence system => commercial • Increase in efficiency & productivity • High value & Niche products, Non-farm • Increased mobility-migration, remittances • Human poverty • Livelihood insecurity • Food insecurity • Gender & social inequity
  • 15. Emerging issues: Socio-economic • Growing inequality, rural-urban, mountain-lowland • Agricultural decline-High Energy Price, increased fuel prices, fertilizers, pesticides • Outmigration- feminization of agriculture, shortage of agricultural labor, the abandonment of agricultural land • Feminization of agriculture, additional work load to women, children • Low investment- 80% of remittances goes consumption, only 2% capital formation • Policies, institutions, technologies insensitive to mountain contexts
  • 16. Emerging issues: Socio-economic • HKH region home to ethnic minorities, scheduled caste, tribal population which are more vulnerable • Growing environmental refugees, social unrest, violence > Human Security – free from want, free from fear • Social unrest -Poverty, marginality & economic deprivation have been a major source of unrest, uprising, even terrorism in hills & mountains of HKH Region
  • 17. Emerging Issues: Climatic • Climate change > reduced water availability in dry season for agriculture, horticulture , livestock raising • The duration of average rainy days has reduced from 72 days to 58 days & quantity has reduced from 132 cm to 102 cm during 1990 to 2010 in Indian mountain (Tiwari & Joshi, 2012) • Expected to decrease agricultural productivity 30% (Tiwari & Joshi, 2012) • Declining Productivity, reducing profitability- shifting cropping patterns
  • 18. Emerging Issues: Climatic • CC Exacerbated the environmental hazards- land slides, flooding, … • Affected the livelihood of vast majority of rural people living in the region & downstream • Human Settlements on the bank of glaciated rivers has become UNSAFE • Growing risks & uncertainties –
  • 19. • Potentials and Opportunities –Farm-based –Non-farmbased
  • 20. Potential & Opportunities: Farm- based • Comparative advantages on several products & services because of mountain Niche & Diversity • Great potential for development of organic agriculture, horticulture, forest, pasture, livestock, hydroelectricity, herbs, medicinal plants, spices, • Collective action- institutional innovations
  • 21. Trends in Agriculture in HKH Region • Transition from Subsistence to cash cropping: Horticulture, NTFPs, medicinal plants, potato, zinger, agroforestry, veget ables, spices, nuts,… Potato has emerged as important cash crop in Bhutan & Nepal in mountain farmers seed potato crop Potato field in BhutanCardamom in India
  • 22. Revolution in horticulture in the HKH Region Apple in India & Pakistan Pineapple in Bangladesh Grapes, Apricots in Afghanistan 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Assam Himachal Pradesh Jammu &Kashmir All India 1990-91 2000-01 2005-06 Increase % of area under horticulture in India Horticulture crops are 3 times more profitable (Rs.48,164/ha than the field crops (Rs.16,619/ha) [Sikkim, India] Trends in Agriculture in HKH Region
  • 23. Trends in Agriculture in HKH Region • Diversification of high value cash crops: mushroom, Matsutake farming and Cordyceps collection in hills & mountains Bhutan & Nepal Matsutake Mushroom Medicinal plants Beekeeping
  • 24. Non-farm sector • Tourism is growing - In Nepal, tourism contribute 3.5 % GDP, generated employment for 0.4 million • Non-farm based rural employment is emerging slowly • Climate Service- economic benefits through ecosystem services particularly carbon sequestration & biodiversity conservation. • Better land management- increase carbon sinks in soil organic matter, above-ground biomass and avoiding carbon emissions through conservation tillage
  • 25. Strategies • Diversifying income sources through off-farm & nonfarm activities • Promotion of non-farm employment & increased- value addition to mountain niche products • Disaster preparedness- early warning systems, increased natural protection, insurance schemes • Dissemination of locationally suitable technologies
  • 26. Strategies • Mountain specific policies, strategies • Improve access and linkage to markets • Introduce climate change adaptation measures • Improve policy and institutional support • Institutional mechanism for compensating for environmental services they generate through environmental friendly agricultural practices