Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

Promoting transformative and climate resilient agriculture for sustainable livelihoods and food security in Nepal (CRA)

The Koshi River Basin (KRB) in Nepal is a critical region for people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. The lowlands of the basin, known as the Terai region, are highly productive and play a vital role in rice, wheat, maize, and vegetable production. In addition to these crops, tropical fruits and livestock contribute significantly to the economy of the mid and high hills. Within this region live approximately 11.5 million people from various communities and indigenous groups who rely on specific crops for their sustenance with culturally influenced practices. Rural districts in KRB have poverty rates ranging between 20-60%. A significant portion of households (65.3%) engage in agriculture activities such as farming forestry work or fishing; buffalos and goats dominate the livestock population here.

The combination of climate change and variability, along with the complex topography and fragile soils in the KRB, present immediate risks to agricultural resources and livelihoods. These hazards expose vulnerable communities to potential disruptions in food security. Both anecdotal evidence from locals and historical trends indicates that the KRB has witnessed shifts in temperature patterns, as well as fluctuations in precipitation trends. This has posed a tremendous threat to food security and agri-farming practices of the region.

In order to improve the ability of farmers to cope with climate variability and change, as well as transition towards sustainable agriculture-based livelihoods, the GCF project titled "Promoting transformative and climate resilient agriculture for sustainable livelihoods and food security in Nepal" was initiated in 2020. The main aim of this initiative aligns directly with the policy objectives outlined in Nepal's Agriculture Development Strategy 2015-2035 and Food and Nutrition Security Plan of Action, specifically focusing on enhancing farmers' resilience to climate change impacts and other unexpected events.

This project aims to mitigate the existing and future risks and vulnerabilities posed by climate change in the KRB for farming communities. It also focuses on strengthening the government's ability to support these communities and overcome barriers to adaptation, such as limited awareness, restricted market access, inadequate information availability, and limited capacity. This approach follows a systematic process that addresses these challenges through three components. Firstly, the project will implement and roll-out climate-resilient farming practices.  Secondly, it will invest in value-chain infrastructure to support sustainable agriculture. Thirdly, the project will create an environment to provide farmers with climate forecasting services that will allow them to anticipate and plan for weather-related risks while improving productivity over time.

The project will be implemented in six districts, namely Udayapur, Saptari, Sarlahi, Sindhuli, Ramechhap and Dolakha and the anticipated completion date is December 2027.