Mahesh Shrestha/LI-BIRD

Scaling-Up Climate Smart Agriculture & Climate Smart Village in Nepal: Policy Discourse in the Making

Posted on: 8/17/2016

By: Bibudh Dhewaju, LI-BIRD

The Government of Nepal (GoN) is set to integrate Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and Climate Smart Village (CSV) in its regular programme, according to the plan and policies for the next fiscal year 2016/17 announced by the Honorable President Bidya Devi Bhandari at a parliament meeting on 8 May 2016. A high level team of the National Planning Commission (NPC) and the members of CSA/CSV Project Advisory Committee (PAC) visited Majhathana and Sundaridanda in the Begnas and Rupa lake watershed of Kaski to observe the field piloting of the CSA/CSV model on 6 August 2016 and 10 August 2016, respectively. The team of NPC was led by Mr. Vijay Kunwar (the then Honorable NPC member), Mr. Bal Krishna Ghimire (Joint Secretary) and Dr. Chakrapani Acharya (Under Secretary), whereas the members of PAC were led by Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya (Joint Secretary, MoAD), Mr. Mahendra Nath Poudel (Under Secretary, MoAD), Mr. Mahesh Kharel (Under Secretary, NPC), Mr. Amar Raj Sharma Ghimire (Under Secretary, Department of Agriculture - DoA),  Mr. Samid Ahamad (Senior Scientist, National Agriculture Research Council), Mr. Rewati Prasad Sapkota (Under Secretary, Ministry of Population and Environment - MoPE), Surya Prasad Pokharel (Under Secretary, Ministry of Finance - MoF) and Kofula Shrestha (Senior Divisional Engineer, Department of Irrigation - DoI).

The visitors observing yam nursey in sack that utilizes unused terrace walls to produce a neglected yet highly nutritious drought tolerant and culturally important crop. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD.

A CSA/CSV is a participatory approach of building climate resilient agriculture system where:

  • risks and vulnerabilities of the village due to or exacerbated by climate change are assessed;
  • portfolio of climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices and technologies are developed and promoted in response to climate risks and vulnerabilities; 
  • strong participation among farmers, government, private sector and local institutions is ensured; and  
  • the farmers are provided with climate literacy and climate information services. 

With strong backing of local stakeholders such as the Village Climate Change Coordination Committee (VC4), Village Development Committee, Sana Kishan Sahakari Sankstha (farmers cooperative), Ward Citizen Forum and Agriculture Service Centre, the farmers in Majhathana are adopting a number of CSA practices and technologies to cope with and adapt to the challenges exacerbated by climate change. 

The members observed a plastic tunnel and drip irrigation adopted by Ms. Til Kumari Gurung of Patle, Majhathana, a weather smart technology to protect her crops from the recurrent problem of drought and hailstone, and to produce off season vegetables for additional income. The farmers have also been using Low Cost Sustainable Agriculture Kits (SAKs) such as corn sheller and millet thresher to reduce the drudgery of women farmers. The members also observed a yam nursery in sacks -- an innovative technology that utilizes unused terrace walls to produce a neglected yet highly nutritious, drought tolerant and culturally important crop; a roof to roots multiple use water system (MUS) for efficient use of rainwater for multiple purposes such as irrigation, washing, cleaning, etc.; improved cattle shed and farm yard manure (FYM) management to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers; and a community pond to address water scarcity. 

Ms. Indra Kumari Gurung of Patle, Majhathana showing tomato seedlings grown in cocopeat nursery trays, a convinent and effective means of seedling production for providing quality seedling to protect against root damage. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD.

The members wrapped up the visits with a stop at the Sundaridanda ‘Knowledge Centre’. The Knowledge Centre aims to link the downstream communities of Begnas and Rupa lakes and their businesses with the upstream communities such as Majhathana for information sharing, communication and coordination of services to establish strong platforms for local agricultural marketing and payments for watershed services.

The NPC team and the PAC members interacted with farmers and local stakeholders throughout the visit. Dr. Chakrapani Acharya observed, “In an integrated way, a climate sensitive village like Majhathana has been approached for livelihood improvement opportunities through the participation of the locals. The village is beautiful but is also vulnerable to climate changes and the model will most certainly be pioneering.” 

"Climate Change is a global agenda in which we are all answerable", said Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya. "The practices observed in Majhathana will definitely be useful in guiding our upcoming policy formulation. The government is positive and commits to collaborating with LI-BIRD." Similarly, Mr. Vijay Kunwar believes that the work in Majhathana should be shared at a wider level, so that others will be able to apply the improvement observed or practiced here. He said, “Today’s sharing event is a testament of what we [the government] have been trying to observe and what LI-BIRD is trying to share.” He said that NPC is very enthusiastic on collaborating with LI-BIRD. 

Khem Bahadur Gurung, Senior Technical Assistant of LI-BIRD, briefing about Sustainable Agricultural Kits that help to reduce women drudgery. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD. 

The visit is part of a concerted effort to begin a high level policy discourse with the government of Nepal for scaling up CSA practices and technologies through the CSV model the model of CSV, which is also piloted in Mahottari, Nawalparasi, Bardiya, Dang, Gorkha, and Lamjung districts. 

LI-BIRD is also co organizing two different workshops led by the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD): a National CSA Workshop on 24 August 2016; and an ‘International CSV Workshop’ with Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) as a co-organizer from 12 to 15 September 2016 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The CSA project is implemented by LI-BIRD in partnership with the CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with financial support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), UK. The CSV project is implemented by LI-BIRD with technical and financial support from CCAFS. Both projects are supported by the Project Advisory Committee comprising representatives from the NPC, MoF, MoPE, MoFALD, NARC, DoA, DoI, DHM, CDKN, CCAFS and LI-BIRD under the leadership of MoAD.