Global Climate Change and SMART Agriculture in Nepal.

Global climate change is one of the many complicated issues we face today in our world. Nepal in particular is highly vulnerable to the potential negative impacts of climate change; here, the average annual temperatures are already increasing. It has really become prior issue to adapt and mitigate the climate change. The negative impact of climate change is clearly seen and has been experienced these days. The change in temperature and rainfall pattern is the more vivid consequences of climate change. This has led to shifting seasons/rainfall, extreme weather pattern, shifting cultivation, change in breeding season, outgrowth of diseases, encroachment of alien species, alteration in the quality and quantity of air, water, soil etc. Many terrestrial, freshwater species are struggling to survive, cope, some have shifted to new locality, and some have extinct because of Climate Change acceleration rate and negative impacts on them. Because of this agriculture, forestry, energy and tourism sector are being primarily affected ultimately leading to social and economic deterioration. Further, inadequate climate change resilience knowledge and practice, inappropriate soil and water conservation measures, insufficient retention of soil moisture, inadequate technical know-how has crippled the food insecurity. In addition, Subsistence farming practices, poor agriculture modern technical input driven on various aspects relating to promoting resource management (natural and human) has deteriorated drastically production and productivity resulting in rampant migration.

These effects have obviously hampered the livelihood of the people at various levels. Hence, the best way to cope the consequences of climate change might be through the implementation of adaptation strategies and intervention at local level. However, in the context of Nepal, mitigating climate change is difficult to some extent because of limitation in economic/finance, poor technological advancement and least role of contribution in Green House Gas emission. In addition, most of the communities, where the climate change impacts are extreme, are very poor. Poor and marginalized communities, who often live in vulnerable areas with limited information, limited livelihoods options and low adaptive capacity, are obviously most vulnerable to climate change. Similarly, women are on the frontline of climate change due to their multiple burdens to manage their livelihoods. Predicted impacts of climate change will heighten existing vulnerabilities, inequalities and exposure to hazards. It will create barriers to poverty reduction efforts and reverse many of the important socio-economic gains made by developing countries. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Hence, in order to cope with the leading change of climate and to check the turmoil in the social and economic sector, the community should be empowered economically. In this context, Income Generation Activities (IGA) based on traditional skills and locally available resources using appropriate technologies for value addition can be an effective means to help break the vicious cycle of poverty by increasing income to lead a dignified life. The community should be given proper opportunities in the income generation and micro, small, medium enterprises using the local available resources and adapting and introducing the climate resilient species. For this, the climate smart agriculture such as horticulture, cash crops, honey production, livestock management, pissi-culture etc should be emphasized.

Similarly, awareness on Climate Change, training and skills development activities for IGA, technical assistance and financial grant to households’ in order to acquire specific equipment necessary for income generation activities should be provisioned. In addition to this, scaling up of IGA into enterprises and cooperative should be envisioned. Along with this, market linkages between farmers and traders should be prioritized which particularly increases the economic status of farmer and helpful in environmental and economic shocks.

Loss of bio-diversity, introduction of commercial cropping without giving thought to conservation, has widened the social gap. Sectorial and compartmental approaches have not reached at bottom parts due to lack of coherence of programs and the impact of programs have not adequately reflected to the ground reality due to non-integration. The problems of poverty and deprivation in the tribal regions are complex and intense and not fairly addressed.

Protecting land mass from degradation, utilizing ecologically sensitive indigenous and alternative methods for land & water utilization, treatment and maintenance & rejuvenation can help to achieve important prerequisites for environmental sustainability. The time  has come to  have a concerted action undertake broad based partnership, accelerate cultural biodiversity conservation, institutionalize resilience and adaptation process  with value added initiatives that will complement and supplement the initiates of government/mainstream,  facilitate community institutions to carry forward broad based human adaptation initiatives. There is a way out if we will consider as an opportunity to work together by garnering collective and shared responsibility to minimize the adverse impact of distress migration, land degradation and climate chaos. At the same time, create a broad based canopy and canvas to accelerate to rejuvenate the resource base, the capability of vulnerable and ultra-poor communities to enhance their capacity, bargaining ability as skill up gradation by accessing and availing actual entitlements, rights and empowerment.

Implementation approach and methodology to achieve results:

  • Integration of Climate Change Resilient Integrated Livelihood:

To get a sustained engagement in attaining secured livelihoods especially for vulnerable groups at community level, there should be continuous action-reflection-action and simultaneous programming. Climate Change resilience and income generation related initiatives should be promoted with backward and forward linkages towards achieving over all changes and growth for livelihood enhancement (climate change adaptation and poverty reduction) along with ecological sustainability and economic empowerment. Vulnerable community lead climate resilient integrated livelihood intervention will enhance productivity and transform agriculture subsistence to commercial. Livelihood activities encompasses  co-operative farming, commercialization through entrepreneurship, Bio-gas use for cooking which reduces pollution and fuel scarcity in future, etc.

  • Small livestock rearing and Cash Crops:

Based on communities’ needs, traditions and indigenous skills, activities and training related to livestock rearing should be identified. The objective is to empower beneficiaries through capacity building program and training for self-employment as barefoot technicians, Eco-preneurs by selling products, services, or technologies related to these themes. The training program should build in components related to technical skills, basic financial skills and market orientation.

  • Promotion of Organic Fertilizer and Organic Production:

Organic production should be promoted as one of the key income generating activities. A small and marginal farmer in Udayapur has been using a heavy amount of chemical fertilisers for getting higher yield. The use of chemical fertilisers not only increases the expense but also have negative impact on the soil health and human health. Hence, emphasis should be given on promotion of organic farming practices like organic fertilizer.  Organic production activities includes urine collection, Homesteads food production, Barn improvement and sanitation, composting & Vermi-composting, Dessert farming, Plastic tunnels production, bio-fertilizers, Green manuring, etc.

  • Local disaster risk reduction and management:

Nepal is at risk from floods, landslides, epidemics, fire, snake bites, winds, drought and devastating earthquakes. It has become necessary to responsible disaster management stakeholders to take initiatives in building disaster resilient communities by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) issues into development plans. Under these circumstances and bearing in mind the need to develop disaster risk management from the central to local level and mainstream it with development policy and programmes at all levels, and also in order to ensure the notion of sustainable development. This should be done to make disaster management participatory, transparent, accountable, inclusive and responsible by optimally mobilizing local resources and capabilities, and by ascertaining the access and ownership of all affected classes, communities and regions. Diaster risk reduction activities include SALT, use of focal persons, Existing resource mapping, preparedness plan, Response activities, information and Co-ordination, search and rescue, WASH, protection, Rehabilitation and reconstruction etc.

SINGLE WOMEN AND A CO-OPERATIVE MODEL IN AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN NEPAL

We anticipate a bright and peaceful new Nepal, where civil society plays a role in supporting communities to reach their potential and contribute to pro-poor policies and sustainable development. The challenges and discrimination facing by single women is one of the most neglected issues in Nepal. Discrimination against women in Nepal is prevalent, due to the deeply patriarchal structure of society. A women without a husband is viewed as anonymous and without value. This discrimination comes on top, experienced as a result of their gender. Women are constantly marginalized  and single women (widows) are in worse situation. In Nepal, the category of ‘single women’ refers to women abandoned by their husbands, divorced, widowed or single until the age of 35. Once women are abandoned, divorced or widowed, they remain single and highly vulnerable to poverty and destitution. Culturally, they are also ill-treated with limited access to social, cultural and religious life. Widows in particular are considered to be symbol of illness, death and witchcraft, and often times seen as the cause of death of their husbands. Therefore, single women, particularly widow’s status in society is by far below that of average women. This marginalization of single women also extends to the economic realm. They don’t have access to household assets and are denied participating in public functions, making them highly vulnerable socio-economically. Living with trauma, social discrimination and in economically deprived conditions, the widows are forced to live in isolation. According to Nepalese social and cultural practice, a widow has to learn a way of life, which is completely different than that of others. From wearing particular type of clothes participating in cultural rituals, the widows have to follow a separate course mainstream culture as well as remain a person with distinct identity. One of the biggest traumas that the single women faces after the death of their husband is the whole questions of support of shelter and economic survival.

  • Widows are not allowed to be the part of social gatherings during the programmes  for general  
  • Restrictions on healthy nutritious food and colored dresses/dress codes.
  • Restrictions to hang around with any male friends, or relatives.
  • Treated and taken as slaves.
  • Feeling of helplessness, lack of self confidence.
  • Negative and superstitious names given for single women whose husband is dead. For e.g. ‘Bokshi’ means ‘Witch’.

My beautiful and tiny country, Nepal, is an agrarian country where 65.6% of people (contributing 35% in national GDP) are actively involved in agriculture. Based on achievements and learning from my Bachelor degree in Agricultural science, I propose to enhance economic empowerment of the single women in order to strengthen their overall status and voice in the community through agriculture-based enterprise development. Furthermore, it helps to design future livelihoods interventions that target highly excluded women. The success of a co-operative model in agri-business development could be the best practice in addressing economic empowerment of women in general and single women in particular. More importantly, with increased access to income and livelihoods opportunities, single women (the most vulnerable within women) will be empowered to claim their socio-cultural and political rights in the long run. The following activities can be carried out to strengthen single women’s status through co-operative model in agri-business development.

  • Strengthen and institutionalize single women’s saving and credit cooperative and mobilize the co-operative’s funds for agri-based enterprises.
  • Orient and transformation of VDC-level single women’s groups into agri-business co-operative .
  • Provide support for the development of group-specific agri-business plan as per local opportunities.
  • Provide technical support to single women’s groups through trainings, on-site technical advice for agriculture production and market.
  • Provide agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and tools for agricultural production.
  • Improve single women’s environment-friendly agri production with organic technologies.
  • Provide skills-based trainings to single women to help them exploit their hidden potentials. For e.g. creating handicrafts, weaving and knitting, bamboo craft etc.

In this way I believe the proposed interventions immediately help to meet livelihood needs of Single women and their dependents. Building skills-based changes in agriculture at the community level allow them to sustain their living on their own. Increased recognition of single women similarly provide additional benefits to women, including improved social and political participation, which have further positive impacts in the long run.

 Who are Youths and what is their role???

Who are Youths and what is their role in the environment? Well, the answer is well known and even well demonstrated. However, it is also important to understand the true meaning of being ‘young’ and comprehend the role, and responsibilities that comes within.

The Oxford dictionary defines youth as the period between childhood and adult age and also , the state or quality of being young, esp. as associated with vigor, freshness, or immaturity. So, youths with no doubt, can be defined as the incomparable source of energy, ideas, innovations, etc. And  the role of youths in every sector including the environment is indispensable.

As youths are distinctly enthusiastic and energetic, they can put a lot of contribution for environment conservation and promotion making the environment cleaner and greener. Youths are the sparks of change and if they are willing, they can make decisions and act to leave positive effects in the environment. Some roles youths can play for a cleaner and greener environment are;

  • Inspiring, Awaking and motivating Role in the community.
  • Initiating role by starting cleaning, plantation campaigns etc.
  • Exemplary role by being an example of eco friendly acts like reduce, reuse, recycle, using bins etc.

Good examples of environment conservation has been shown by youths and their organizations like Nepal Tunza Youth Environment network, Change Fusion Nepal etc. I myself am a youth and born to the era of increasing pollution and global warming, I understand the importance of youth activities for the environment. Fortunately, I have been able to be part of various green activities like plantation programs, sanitation programs, awareness campaigns etc and witness change in the society.. During a program on Dissemination and Awareness on Environment conservation (organized by Youth Eco Network on June 5, 2013), a school student told me that he has never thrown food wrappers or any waste haphazardly ( which is surprising in Nepal), instead he has always used bins. If we all do the same, surely we have a cleaner surrounding and we don’t have to complain about waste. Actually, working for environment has made me understand that if we youths take a step towards conservation, no matter how small the step is, there will certainly be a difference .

The researches and findings have already warned that if the pollution and deforestation with human encroachment increases at this rate, then, human survival will be soon at threat. This is in fact a bigger challenge for youths as future greatly depends on the youths. It is shame that lot of youths in Nepal are indulged in activities like drug addiction and give a damn to environmental hazards. No matter what youths are involved in, they should not forget their power to make a better, cleaner and greener environment. Above all, the role of youth for a healthy environment is immense and needs to be emphasized more. So, all the youths, let us unite for cleaner and greener environment.