Cereal and pulse yields in Nepal fall well below the regional averages and present rates of increase won’t meet long-term domestic requirements. Factors that contribute to low staple crop performance in Nepal include scarce farm labor, poor knowledge of best agricultural management practices, lack of irrigation and mechanization and farmers’ inability to take risks and invest in new technologies. Also, innovative applied research has long been underfunded and research benefits have rarely reached farmers.
Nepal’s Mid and Far West development regions are most acutely affected by these constraints as these regions have the highest poverty and receive the lowest investment by the private sector. As a result, CSISA works in Nepal’s Terai plains and mid-hills, where the scope for improving farmers’ lives through agriculture is greatest.
The project works with partners who can help to rapidly and broadly increase the adoption of sustainable intensification technologies at scale. Its partners include Feed the Future’s KISAN project, government agencies, farmers’ groups, service providers, agro-dealers, seed enterprises and other private sector companies. The project’s interventions in Nepal include:
- The intensification and diversification of pulses (lentil and mung bean) and their adoption at scale
- Scaling up of cropping system-based approaches for sustainably intensifying wheat and minimizing terminal heat stress
- Facilitation of efficient and low-risk strategies for the precise and productive use of nutrients
- Establishing robust seed systems that ensure timely access to elite cultivars and hybrids
- Promoting scale-appropriate mechanization and irrigation
- Directly-sown rice (DSR) to address labor and energy constraints to precision rice establishment
- Deployment of better-bet agronomic messaging through input dealer networks and development partners
- Income-generating maize production in neglected hill and plateau ecologies
- Integrated weed management to facilitate sustainable intensification transitions in rice
- Coping with climate extremes in rice–wheat cropping systems
Earthquake Recovery Support Program (EQRSP)
The 2015 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that struck Nepal had huge negative impacts on the country’s agriculture and food security. An estimated 8 million were affected by the earthquakes, with smallholders in hilly regions being most hard-hit.
In response to the devastation, USAID-Nepal funded a support program from June 2015 to September 2016 that was implemented by CSISA in close coordination with the Ministry of Agricultural Development. The program distributed 50,000 grain storage bags, 30 cocoons for community grain storage, 400 mini-tillers and other modern agriculture power tools (e.g., reapers, maize shellers, seeders), 800 sets (5 items in a set) of small agricultural hand tools and 20,000 posters on better-bet agronomic practices for rice and maize.
The districts that received support included Dolkha, Kavre, Khotang, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Ramechap, Sindhupalchowk, and Solukhumbu.