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Identification and Integrating FSF into Farming Systems to Harness High Potential of FSF for Mountain Agriculture in Nepal


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Madan Raj Bhatta
IFPRI-FAO conference side event, "Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition"
November 28–30, 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Identification and Integrating FSF into Farming Systems to Harness High Potential of FSF for Mountain Agriculture in Nepal

  1. 1. Identification and Integrating FSF into Farming Systems to Harness high Potential of FSF for Mountain Agriculture in Nepal Madan Bhatta Former Director of National Genebank, Nepal
  2. 2. High Hill, >2000m Mid Hill, 1000-2000m Plains (Tarai), 60-1000m Total Area 147,181 sq km Agro-eco-zones ➢ Plain= 23% ➢ Hills= 42% ➢ Mountain=35% Altitude range: 60 - 8848 m Crop cultivation range: 60 – 4700 m Introduction
  3. 3. Population structure as of 2018 Total population 29,665,114 100% Male population 14,713,995 49.6% Female population 14,951,119 50.27% Plain (Terai) 14,912,652 50.4% Hills 12,785,664 43.1% Mountain 1,996,462 6.73% Population density 199/sqm
  4. 4. Food and nutrition security in Nepal. Indicator National Average (%) Mountains (%) Hills (%) Food insecure households (%) 50.8 59.5 52.8 Prevalence of underweight Women (aged 15–49 years) 18.2 16.5 12.4 Stunting (%) height, (Children below age 5) 40.5 52.9 42.1 Wasting (%), Weight for height, (children below age 5) 10.9 10.9 10.6 Underweight (%), weight for age (Children below age 5) 28.8 35.9 26.6 Source: Lipy Adhikari, Abid Hussain and Golam Rasul, 2017, Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal, 2011.
  5. 5. Major Crops by eco-zones of Nepal Eco-zones Climate Major Crops grown 1. Plain (Terai) Hot, humid Rice, Wheat, Maize, Legumes, Oil seeds 2. Hills Cool, humid Cool, dry Rice, Wheat, Maize, Millet, Amaranth, Common buckwheat, Beans, Barley, Rice beans 3. High Mountain Cool, humid Cool, dry Tartary buckwheat, Millet, Proso millet, Naked barley, Amaranth , Potato and cold tolerant rice
  6. 6. Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Zone Buckwheat Rice Buckwheat Mid hills Maize Buckwheat Mid hills Buckwheat Finger millet Hid hills Maize + Soybean Buckwheat Mid hills Naked barley Buckwheat Naked barley Mountain Wheat Buckwheat Wheat Mountain Potato Buckwheat Mountain Wheat Buckwheat Buckwheat Wheat Mountain Wheat Buckwheat Finger Millet Mountain Buck wheat Mungbean Rice Buckwheat Terai Major cropping systems in the hills and mountain
  7. 7. Characteristics of Mountain and hill Farming System - A close integration between crops, livestock, and forest - A high degree of slope and difficult for management - Small land holdings (0.025-0.051 ha) - A high labor input
  8. 8. Characteristics ---- - A high degree of subsistence - Rainfed marginal agriculture (low productivity) - Devoid of external inputs, complete organic farming - Use of Locally available land-races of NUS/FSF - Crop residues and FYM as manure - Low output per unit area FGD in Dolakha
  9. 9. Rugged landscapes of Mountains
  10. 10. Challenges in mountain farming system • Mountains are highly vulnerable to climate change • Deterioration of local food systems, changing food habits, reduced dietary diversity, the perception of FSF as inferior food items, – Rice is considered as prestigious food over FSF such as (Buckwheat, millets, amaranth etc.) – Socio-cultural settings with regard to FSF consumption Local Policy dialogue, Dolakha dist.
  11. 11. Challenges ---- - Rapid loss of local biodiversity due to changing food habits and climate change - Lack of knowledge about the cultivation of FSF and lack of awareness of the uses and nutritional value of FSF. - As a result, the production of FSF has declined in the mountains - Policy Constraints in support of FSF production
  12. 12. Main Prospects of Integration of Selected FSF (Buckwheat) into Mountain Food System • Nutrition- Nutrition dense, rich source of protein, Fe, Zn, Mg, folic acid and improves health of Mountain people. • Farming systems - Agriculture is rainfed and highly vulnerable to climate change, Buckwheat is tolerant to drought, cold temperature, and need lesser external inputs, and contribute food security of the mountain people. • Ecology- Faster growth, suppresses weeds, improves soil fertility by adding OM and enriching the availability of P into soil. Very important role as pollinators in apple orchards, absorbs UV radiation. • Socio-economic impact – Buckwheat has now become rich mans’ food and by growing additional Buckwheat, Mountain people can supply it to urban areas as well improve the health of children and household members.
  13. 13. Uniqueness of Buckwheat farming in Nepal mountains • It is grown by small and poor women farmers mainly in the mountains and hills. • Crop is grown relatively in marginal and poor soil. • Chemical fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides, fungicides, etc. are not applied at all. So it is 100% organic • Seed sowing, harvesting, threshing, seed cleaning, grading, drying, processing, etc. is done by women farmers • Buckwheat produced in the mountains and hills are large, aromatic and have high specific gravity • Pollinators
  14. 14. Mungbean for nutritional and food security
  15. 15. RiceWheat Mung Rice-Wheat system’s sustainability 50-55 kg N/ha and 13-15 tons of biomass/ha/year (within 4-5 years soil fertility reverts in original form)
  16. 16. To avoid several picking, farmers demand one time picking variety
  17. 17. Some Buckwheat recipes used in Nepal Buckwheat pancakes (Roti) Buckwheat finger- chips Variety of buckwheat bread Buckwheat dhido Women in Agriculture in Nepal
  18. 18. Recommendations to encourage smallholder farmers to integrate FSF ➢ Creating awareness. ➢ Educating primary, secondary and tertiary education students on the benefits of FSF ➢ Enhancing market opportunities ➢ Improving market demand for FSFs, there is a need to create awareness among mountain people, particularly mothers and youth, about the nutritional value of FSF ➢Developing food and nutrition security policies and programs that integrate FSF production and consumption into local food systems. ➢ Establishing local food processing industries to enhance local food diversity. ➢ Developing local food based agro-tourism in different Mountain and hill resorts. ➢ Developing FSF-based school-feeding programs. ➢ Documenting the indigenous knowledge regarding their nutritional value of FSF
  19. 19. Recommendations to encourage smallholder farmers to integrate FSF ➢ Policy support ➢FSF should be given equal importance as cereals, such as rice, wheat and maize, in national policies and programs so that small holders in the remote hills encouraged to grow more NUS. ➢Providing incentives to farmers in the form of subsidized inputs (mainly organic in nature) and mechanisms to support the price of FSF. ➢Institutional mechanisms focusing on market facilities, storage. services, extension services. ➢Invest in FSF research and development. ➢Insuring credit facilities for FSF.
  20. 20. Thanks