Mahesh Shrestha/LI-BIRD

Discussion on Scaling Up Climate Smart Agriculture Gain Momentum in Nepal

Posted on: 9/6/2016

By: Bikash Paudel and Bibudh Dhewaju, LI-BIRD

Cover photo: Panelists discussing on 'Policies and Practices for Scaling-Up CSA in Nepal'.

About 80 development practitioners, academicians, development partners and researchers representing government and non-government organizations, including private sectors discussed and shared their experiences on piloting and scaling up Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies and practices in Nepal on 24 August 2016 in Kathmandu. The workshop entitled ‘Learning-Sharing Workshop on Climate Smart Agriculture in Nepal’ was jointly organized by the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), and CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), with financial support from Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). The main objectives of the workshop were to (i) provide a platform where different organizations working on CSA can share their experiences and learn from each other; (ii) consolidate the learning of various organizations to provide policy feedback to the government; and (ii) evoke policy discourse and debate among key actors, including informing participants, as well as those responsible for formulating future policies regarding scaling up CSA in Nepal.

The inauguration session was chaired by Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya, Joint Secretary (Food Security, Agri-business and Environment Division, MoAD, and the Chair, Project Advisory committee for Climate Smart Agriculture and Climate Smart Village projects). The Chief Guest of the workshop Dr. Suroj Pokharel, Joint Secretary (Foreign Aid Coordination and Policy Division, MoAD) inaugurated the workshop. As mentioned by Dr. Balaram Thapa, Executive Director of LI-BIRD in his welcome speech, the core issue of the discussion was ‘If agriculture is to feed the country’s population in a sustainable manner, our agriculture must become climate smart’. 

Dr. Suroj Pokharel inaugurated the session by shelling corn. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD

The workshop was supplemented by exhibition where a range of CSA practices and technologies, poster presentations, a model of Community Seed Bank, solar water pump, sustainable agriculture kits, 8 different climate adaptive mountain crops were displayed, which provided information about the good practices generated through more than 20 years of research and development at LI-BIRD. Moreover, several publications of LI-BIRD and CDKN were also included for distribution. 

Dr. Bikash Paudel, Project Leader of CSA project in LI-BIRD, delivered the key background presentation on scaling up CSA for Nepal. Presenting the progress of the ongoing CSA project, he explained how the theory of CSA has been contextualized, and applied for identification, screening, piloting, validating and selecting champion CSAs for different agro-ecological regions of Nepal. Highlighting the key difference of CSA with other regular development interventions, he said that climate vulnerability assessment either carried out by Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPA) or through other sources has been taken as an initial base for technology selection and piloting in the study villages. 

Naramaya Karki, a farmer of Shivagunj, Jhapa, briefing about the Community Seed Bank.
Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD

The main highlight of the workshop, however, was the high level panel discussion on 'Policies and Practices for Scaling-Up CSA in Nepal'. The session was Chaired and moderated by Dr. Suroj Pokharel. The participants of the discussion included: Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya, Mr. Bal Krishna Ghimire (Joint Secretary, National Planning Commission); Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal (former Member of NPC); Dr. Ram Chandra Khanal (Country Engagement Lead of Nepal, CDKN); Dr. Arun KC (Socio-Economist,  CCAFS); Mr. Pradip Maharjan (Chief Executive Officer, Agro-Enterprise Centre, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries); Ms. Yamuna Ghale (Senior Programme Officer,  Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; and Mr. Sibjan Chaulagain, Executive Head of Smiles (a private sector involved in ICT based agro-advisory) . The discussion was focused on four broad questions: 

  1. Is there enough policy and institutional framework to scale up CSA technologies in Nepal?
  2. If there are sufficient policy and institutional framework, what are the barriers for translating the favorable policy provisions into action?
  3. How scaling up CSAs contributes to achieving goals of Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) 2015, and 14th Development Plans?
  4. Potential and constraints for resource leveraging from various sources (including VDC/DDC block grants) for scaling up CSA?

The panelists concluded that Nepal has sufficient policies and strategies through which CSA can be scaled up. While earlier policies and strategies had given priority to sustainable agriculture and reducing environment footprint of agriculture, recent policies (e.g., ADS 2015) are more explicit regarding the need for promoting climate smart agriculture in Nepal. Despite incremental favorable policy changes, translating those policies into tangible actions supported by budget and human resources was identified as the key challenge. To translate the policies into action, the panelists emphasized: (i) the need to make usable knowledge readily accessible to the farming communities; (ii) policies to be more sensitive to the needs of smallholder farmers and women who are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change; (iii) research is needed not only for the negative impact of climate change, but also the positive effects of climate change; and (iv) the need to create incentives for private sectors, so that they can run sustainable business model for promoting CSAs in Nepal. 

The panelists unanimously agreed that scaling up CSA should form an integral part of the implementation of ADS and the 14th Development Plans. Integration of CSA in Government’s local planning process and reflection of CSA in local development plans was identified as the key to leverage resources and accessing Government’s resources and services at the local level for scaling up CSA in Nepal.  

Mr. Shib Nandan Shah, Under Secretary, MoAD, presenting about an initiative of ICT application in Agriculture Management Information System in Nepal. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD

Four technical presentation sessions were run in two parallel sessions, with the key themes: CSA technologies generation, evaluation and piloting (Chaired by Mr. Mahendra Poudel, Senior Under Secretary, MoAD); Emerging approaches on CSA (Chaired by Mr. Bal Krishna Ghimire (Joint Secretary, NPC); CSA, commercial agriculture and value chain (Chaired Mr. Pradip Maharjan (CEO, AEC, FNCCI); and Scaling up CSA technologies and practices (Chaired by Mr. Mahesh Kharel, Under-secretary, NPC. A total of 17 different presentations were delivered by various organizations. 

Concluding the workshop, Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya said, "There is an immediate need to verify and consolidate the findings and learning from various organizations engaged in CSA to provide strong policy feedback to the Government to better tackle climate change challenges. Such a knowledge product would help guide the implementation of ADS and The Prime Minister's Agriculture Modernization Program [PAM]."  He said the workshop proceedings will be a useful guide to the MoAD. In his concluding remarks, Dr. Suroj Pokhrel said, "The workshop has provided an important opportunity for building knowledge and common understanding about CSA, as well as an important direction for scaling up CSA in Nepal."  

This workshop was organized as an activity of ‘Scaling-Up Climate Smart Agriculture in Nepal” project, which is being implemented by LI-BIRD and CCAFS in Nepal in collaboration with MoAD. The project is financially supported by CDKN.