The Kumara Village, Hidden treasure of Jorayal Rural Municipality in Doti unfolds its potential through Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices


Sambat Ranabhat

Kumara village, Jorayal rural municipality-4, Doti, Nepal. Photo: Sambat Ranabhat, LI-BIRD

Kumara, a village located in ward number 4 of Jorayal Rural Municipality of Doti district in Nepal, is nestled in the remote region. A scenic and beautiful walk of about 30 minutes from Budar-Jorayal road will lead to this village, located at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level.  This village is hidden gem with cultural and ethnic diversity, surrounded by the hills filled with lush green forests. This small village is home to a tight-knit community of 27 households, Dalits, Janajati dominantly who are primarily dependent on farming. It is known for its fertile terraced fields where villagers grow different types of crops eg. rice, wheat, maize, millet, potato, cauliflower, tomato and other vegetables with nominal use of chemical fertilizers.

Despite of the natural beauty and the bunch of resources available, the livelihoods of peoples in Kumara Village is yet to foster. In the contrary, livelihoods are affected by the threatening impacts of climate change. The village’s reliance on agriculture and herding makes it vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In recent years, the village has experienced more frequent and severe droughts, which have led to crop failures and food shortages. The villagers have shared their observations about the rainy seasons becoming more unpredictable, making it difficult to plan for planting and harvesting. Also, frequent landslide, an increase in infestation of new disease/pests, loss of indigenous plants and other factors have been encountered. The villagers have also noticed the increased temperatures in the village, and the shrinkage of water sources/springs.  This has led to a reduction in the water supply, directly affecting crop production and overall agriculture productivity. Climate change is not only affecting the villagers’ livelihoods but also their culture and traditions. The villagers have a strong connection to the land and the environment, and the changes in these resources due to climate change are causing them to lose connection with their natural resource, and biodiversity heritage (for example: the community worships natural resources i.e., water taps, springs, ponds).

Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD) with financial support of International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) implemented a Resilient Mountain Solutions (RMS) project in Jorayal Rural Municipality. The RMS project aimed to provide technical assistance to the Rural Municipality for implementing climate model village programme of Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE), Climate Change Management Division (CCMD).

Farmers at Kumara village received different training and capacity-building exposure that increased their understanding on climate change and their capacity to deal with the negative impacts of climate change. The training and capacity-building events were organized in close coordination with the experts and representatives from ‘Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project (PMAMP)’, Agriculture Knowledge Centre (AKC), Agriculture and Livestock section of Rural Municipality and a representative from Geo-Krishi. The training and orientations were focused on developing the capacity of farmers through the introduction of different local and approved climate-resilient technologies and practices.

Improved cattle shed with manure and urine collection technology. Photo: Sambat Ranabhat, LI-BIRD.

LI-BIRD supported the village through introducing of new technologies such as plastic tunnel fitted with drip irrigation set and mulching plastic, home based fertilizers and pesticides (neem based), Jholmal 1,2 &3, Insect management technology (Pheromone trap, Funnel trap, Yellow sticky, Wota-T trap etc), trap soil cement tank, livestock shed improvement, manure and urine collection unit, soil solarization practice, use of local crops, mixed farming, etc.

LI-BIRD provided a variety of tools and techniques to aid in the development of resilience within the community. These include the installation of a plastic tunnel fitted with drip irrigation and mulching plastic, which has been shown effective to control weeds, reduced water use, reduced labor cost, protected crop from frost resulting in an increase of crop yields. The use of home-based fertilizers and pesticides made from neem is sustainable, eco-friendly and has been found equally effective as synthetic pesticides. The implementation of Jholmal 1, 2, & 3 has been effective in reducing pest populations on crop such as cauliflower, potato, etc. while serving as an organic source of fertilizers. Various insect management technologies such as Pheromone trap, Funnel trap, Yellow sticky, and Wota-T trap, have been found highly effective in trapping and controlling various types of pests i.e., Fruit fly, Diamond back moth, aphid, moth etc.  The community have appreciated the project’s effort on the improvements to livestock sheds, which has contributed for better livestock rearing and production. The implementation of manure and urine collection units has helped to enhance the quality of organic manure. The urine collected was used as organic pesticide, and applied as organic fertilizers. The project has also promoted soil solarization practices, which have been found to increase soil health by reducing the population of soil-borne pathogens and pests, and encourage the use of local crops and mixed farming methods. According to Chaya Kami (Lead Farmer, Kumara Village), the improved and sustainable management practices has enhanced the crop diversity and agriculture production.

Farmer Krishna Kami learning to use/install Pheromone trap. Photo: Ganesh Ojha, LI-BIRD.

Farmer Mohan Kami tagging the pheromone trap technology. Photo: Ganesh Ojha, LI-BIRD

Moreover, the initiation on developing a learning center in the community has created a platform for the villagers to share their learnings. The learning center comprises of different climate resilient technologies/practices relevant to the area. This center acts as a place to learn, discuss and generate climate resilient technologies applicable within the community and beyond. We believe, the initiation taken by the project will be further carried out by the Rural Municipality and even replicated in other wards/areas of Rural Municipality by incorporating similar interventions in their annual plan and budget.

Community Learning Center in Kumara Village, Jorayal RM. Photo: Sambat Ranabhat, LI-BIRD

Preparation of Jhol-Manure. Photo: Bed Prakash Bhatta, PMAMP

Jhol-Manure uses by farmer (Right). Photo: Bed Prakash Bhatta (PMAMP)

Besides field level support, project team contributed to Rural Municipality in identification of priority activities and preparation of work plan along with the estimated budget of climate model village program for the FY 2079/80. For doing so, the project team were engaged in several discussions/interaction with Rural Municipality personnel and community people, extracted the information from their experience and field observation and identified the major problems/impact of climate change and its immediate solutions to mitigate the impacts.   The final work plans were prepared incorporating the prioritized/identified activities along with the tentative budget required to accomplish the activity will act as a guiding document to Rural Municipality.

The activities outlined in the work-plan will be rolled out by Rural Municipality and plan will be used by the Rural Municipality in execution, monitoring and evaluation of the programme. The track has been opened, now it is time to act seriously and implement the programme as per the work plan to transform Kumara village from ‘hidden to distinct’ in terms of climate resilience and community empowerment. It’s time to work together to develop Kumara village as a learning hub on climate resilient technologies/practices where the farmers from same Rural Municipality and other adjoining Rural Municipalities could visit and learn different aspects of climate resilient agriculture.