Increasing income of small farmers in Nepal

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Speedy decline in land and water productivity, increased cost of cultivation, low priced agricultural commodities are the major impediment behind substandard cereal based farming system in Nepal. Conservation agricultural technologies including climate smart models are the need of an hour to boost productivity and reduce labor drudgery of the country. This work investigates the advantages perceived by the farmers/ adopters in the region, as well as assists in ensuring sustainability of the cereal based farming system. Our results indicate that there are multiple advantages under conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification in the region.

The study confirms that CA-based practices in rice–wheat and rice–maize farming system, especially in the EIGP of Nepal, can be a viable option for the farmers. Our findings show that it improves the crop productivity (8.11 t ha−1 as compared to 8.08 t ha−1 in rice–wheat and 13.1 t ha−1 as compared to 11.75 t ha−1 in conventional rice–maize), reduces the cost of cultivation (NRs. 78,395 ha−1 as compared to 102,727 ha−1 ), increased net benefits, reduces irrigation time for most of the crops, and decreases labor use per hectares (71 people day−1 ha−1 as compared to 106 for conventional). In addition, it revealed that CA-based practice is for better-off farmers who initially benefit from ZT machine and indeed scaled up in the neighbor localities. The labor used for CA-based treatment in both the rice–wheat and rice–maize farming system was very low as compared to conventional practice since cereal-based farming becomes labor intensive. The cereal-based farming system of Asia has contributed immensely in achieving food sovereignty, but as consequently led to many sustainability issues, such as declining water resources, degrading soil health, and environmental degradation which is further responsible for low land productivity. Hence, the CA-based practices in cereal-based farming systems will surmise with the benefits for the poor and small-scale farmers of the EIGP of Nepal. It may, therefore, help the EIGP rural poor farmers’ adaptation to the changing climate.

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