Climate Risk Management in Nepal
COMMUNITY ACTION PLANNING (CAP) TO PROMOTE ADAPTATION TO DROUGH & FLOOD RISKS
In Nepal, monsoon rains start around July and end between October and November. Livelihoods of rural populations heavily rely on monsoon rains. However, highly variable and erratic rainfall pattern often causes droughts and floods. To manage the risks of these climate extremes community action planning are being developed to promote the development of hazard specific alternative plans for various crops, providing farmers with faster and more efficient tools to adapt to the impacts of adverse climate conditions. The action plan is developed mainly by the community members. It is location specific and considers environmental, climatic, social and economical factors.
WATER CONSERVATION PONDS
During the pre-monsoon season (March to May) some areas in Nepal experience water shortages and during the monsoon, water excesses cause regular floods and landslides. In this situation, activities such as agriculture or livestock, as well as the availability of drinking water and women’s workload are deeply affected. Guaranteeing water availability throughout the year is essential to reduce the vulnerability of Nepalese farmers. Water conservation ponds prove strategic reserves for the dry season and as protection of hillsides from landslides during the rainy season. Conservation ponds were used by indigenous populations in the mid-hill region in the past, but were lost due to the introduction of piped water supply.
ROOFTOP RAINWATER HARVESTING
Many parts of Nepal experience water shortages during the dry season and the pre-monsoon seasons. Rural households, especially women, experience greater difficulties in collecting water resources during this time. Collecting rooftop runoff in jars is a local coping strategy, cost effective in highlands and areas affected by prolonged dry season in Nepal. These jars are particularly helpful in addressing drinking water shortages but they can also be used for irrigating kitchen gardens. While rainwater still requires boiling before drinking, it is more sanitary and healthy than other drinking water sources, especially during the monsoon.
STRENGTHENING OF COMMUNITY SEED PRODUCTION GROUPS (CSPG)
The seed replacement rate in Nepal is very low and this should be increased to at least 25-33% from the current level of 4.7% in the country. Farmers have been growing deteriorated seeds of crop varieties for many years without replacement. Farmers prefer local varieties in rainfed areas due to low input and low management requirements and low risks compared to improved varieties. So, for successful production of quality seeds, farmers need to be organized in community-based seed production groups (CBSPG). The programme also provides production inputs, credit, training and technical know-how on seed production, storage and marketing.
STORAGE OF SEED POTATO WITH THE DIFFUSED LIGHT STORAGE (DLS) PRINCIPLE
Temperature fluctuations and excessive light exposure cause deterioration of seed potato. The Diffuse Light Storage (DLS) is a low cost method of storing seed potatoes, which has been found to extend their storage life and improve the productivity. The DLS uses natural indirect light, which facilitates better aeration and maintains the viability of the seed material. The direct sunlight can be controlled through this method. Moreover, the quality of potato seed tubers is ensured, viability loss is reduced, the overall quality and quantity of the produce is enhanced and the seed storage costs are reduced.
COMMUNITY BASED LANDSLIDE TREATMENT
Extensive areas of productive land were left fallow because of their vulnerability to landslides, and many settlements were displaced, mostly from mid-hills to the Terai region. Strengthening community participation in the mid-hills can promote an integrated approach for landslide treatment, which includes a series of conservation practices strategically planned along the river. The benefits of this integrated approach for landslide treatment are multiple. Since implementation, frequency and extent of landslides have decreased in Arghakanchi. Cop productivity has increased, because there is no need to leave fertile land to fallow, and horticulture has been a source of additional income for farmers.
IMPROVED PIT STORAGE METHOD FOR GINGER RHIZOMES
Ginger is a highly healthy spice used in food delicacy and medicine. It is a major cash crop for import substitution and export promotion, making ginger a commodity of national importance. A loss of 5-10% has been observed in ginger due to problems in its processing and storage. Institutional support through training, packaging practices and meeting/seminars is necessary for improved ginger production and processing, and for storage technology to raise the livelihoods of poor farmers. The objective of the practice is to: (i) improve and maintain the quality of ginger rhizomes selected for seeds through proper storage technology; (ii) to improve the quality of ginger processing (Sutho) for marketing purposes.
TUNNEL FARMING FOR OFF-SEASON VEGETABLE CULTIVATION
High temperature spells during summer months and foggy weather combined with prolonged cold temperature spells during winter months often affect vegetable cultivation (tomato and onion). Tunnel farming, an inexpensive and relatively easy technique, is a local practice designed to provide crops with relatively controlled temperature throughout the year, reducing the impacts of temperature fluctuations. In addition, tunnels also provide protection from rain and hail and can reduce pest and disease incidence. This practice can help to control the micro climate of the plant and guarantee food supply at the household level to local farmers.
POTATO PRODUCTION FROM TRUE POTATO SEED (TPS) FOR COLD-TOLERANT AND LATE BLIGHT RESISTANT YIELDS
Potato is a major food crop in the mid-hills and mountains in Nepal. Traditionally, most farmers use small tubers as seed, to grow potato with the minimum input. Although seed tubers are easy to plant and plants grow quickly, they are expensive and may account for more than half the total production costs. Potato production from True Potato Seed (TPS) is more advantageous than using “seed potatoes”, as farmers maintain genetic diversity that will protect production from any new pest or disease, or changes in climate or cultural practices.