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FAO in Nepal

Nepal at a glance

The country is landlocked between two most populous countries of the world, India in the East, South and West, and China in the North. Nepal is a home to natural beauty with traces of artifacts.

The Northern Himalayan range, where the highest peak of the world the Mount Everest stands, is covered with snow throughout the year. The middle range includes hills, valleys and lakes. The Southern range which is also called Terai is a gangaitic plain of alluvial soil and consists of dense forest area, national parks, wildlife reserves and conservation areas. The temperature and rainfall differ from place to place.

About 26.5 million people belonging to more than 60 castes and ethnicity live in the geographically and climatically diversified conditions. Nepal presents an example of being united in diversity throughout history and has maintained its pride as being an independent sovereign state.

The country is administratively alienated to five development regions and 75 districts. Districts are further divided into smaller units, called Village Development Committee (VDC) and Municipality. Currently, there are 3,648 VDCs and 192 Municipalities in the country. Each VDC is composed of 9 wards whereas municipality ward ranges from 9 to 35. Kathmandu is the capital city. There are several snowy peaks, rivers, rivulets and natural lakes in the country.

Nepal is a member of the United Nations and has established diplomatic relations with other countries of the world. Major export commodities are paste, pulses, oil cake, catechu, jute bags, traditional hand knotted carpets, readymade garments, handicrafts and ginger.

Economic growth of the country has not improved markedly over time to overtake population growth. The gain achieved by the developmental activities has been superseded by the ever growing population (1.35%). More than half (57%) of the population of working age is reported economically active and among them 81 percent are engaged in agricultural activities. Contribution of non-agricultural activities is gradually increasing in the GDP.

On 25 April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal with a series of strong aftershocks including one of 7.3 magnitude on 12 May 2015. It was the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years. It triggered avalanches and landslides and crakes in the mountains and hills. These massive earthquakes and subsequent after-shocks caused 8,699 human deaths, 22,220 injured, 504,775 private and 1,340 government houses fully damaged. Several animals also died with the collapse of the private houses (as of 2 May 2015).

In addition, the seeds, food grains, agricultural tools, implements and machineries were also buried into the debris of the housed which has severely disrupted the food production system and livelihoods in the 40 most affected districts. The United Nations estimated that approximately eight million people had been affected by the earthquakes. Destruction of buildings, roads and other infrastructure will make re-building a long-term challenge.

Agriculture and Livestock

Nepal is an agricultural country having 66 percent people directly engaged in farming. Farming is subsistent in nature and crop is mostly integrated with livestock.

Nepal is richly endowed with agro-biodiversity. Rice, maize, millet, wheat, barley and buckwheat are the major staple food crops. Similarly, oilseeds, potato, tobacco, sugarcane, jute and cotton are the important cash crops whereas lentil, gram, pigeon pea, blackgram, horsegram and soyben are the important pulse crops. Nepal is also famous for orthodox tea, large cardamom, turmeric and zinger too. Most Nepalese farmers grow diversified crops in order to hedge against erratic and uncertain weather and other unfavourable agronomic conditions.

Livestock is one of the important sources of cash income of the farm households. Livestock products which are sold for cash. The cash needs of the farm families are mainly met through the sale of milk, yoghurt, cheese, ghee, Chhurpi, meat, egg and live animals and poultry. Generally, farm families in mountains raise Yak or Chauri (Himalayan breed of cow) and sheep, in hills cow, sheep, goat and rural poultry and in Terai buffalo, cow, goat and poultry. Poultry husbandry is emerging enterprise in Terai and hills. Human and animal labours are major sources of farm power.

In addition, Nepal grows a number of fruit and vegetable crops. Some important ones are Apple, peach, pear, plum, walnut, orange, lime, lemon, mango, lichi, banana, pineapple, papaya, cucumber, lady’s finger, brinjal, pumpkin and several leafy vegetables.

Fresh water fish culture is another emerging enterprise in Terai whereas rainbow trout in the hills and in the lower mountains.

On April 25th 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, with a series of strong aftershocks including one of 6.7 magnitude, and triggering avalanches in the mountains. It was the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years. Estimates indicated more than 8000 people died and many more were injured. On May 12th 2015, a second, 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, again with strong aftershocks. The United Nations estimated that approximately eight million people had been affected by the earthquakes. Destruction of buildings, roads and other infrastructure will make re-building a long-term challenge.