EcoHimal trains mountain farmers in bio-intensive method


About 300 rural farmers in Nepal have been trained on intensive planting techniques thanks to Mountain Partnership (MP) member EcoHimal Nepal (EHN). The trainings, which were suitable for both beginning and advanced levels, took place in the remote village of Khiraule in Solukhumbu.

The training was facilitated by EHN Executive Director Narayan Dhakal. The group planted an almond tree to demonstrate the technique of bio-intensive farming. This effort was part of the Integrated Rural Development Project, which was implemented in Khiraule Village from June 2017 to May 2019 with the financial support of Nepal Helfe Bonn.

Grow Bio-intensive (GB) farming is a solution to several of the village’s problems. Most of the village’s land is barren due to being uncultivated as a result of high rates of outmigration.  GB is a method of growing food that will help to revitalize the soil, using a smaller area to produce higher yields. This method minimizes water use; it is important to find a way of farming which uses less water because 90 percent of local farmers have no irrigation system and have to rely on unpredictable rainfall. As an approach, GB farming promotes the long-term health of the soil and land. Dhakal explains, “GB is the best alternative in the mountain to self sustain and grow and consume organic.”

Despite the area’s barren soil, fruits, nuts and some vegetables are suitable for planting. Part of EcoHimal’s training included training local farmers on bio-intensive bed preparation for vegetable and seedlings production using both single and double digging methods.

An additional problem for Khiraule is encroaching chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. Nepal has always had organic produce because farmers were unaware of these technologies. However, a nearby village has begun using these products, and their influence is spreading with their growth.

Considering the prevailing situation in the area, EcoHimal is promoting bio-intensive farming and teaching farmers about the benefits of GB. Within the next year, they plan to train about 300 more farmers on basic bio-intensive farming techniques and about 30 on more advanced material.

News and photo by EcoHimal Nepal (EHN)

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