Устойчивое производство продовольствия и ведение сельского хозяйства


Building Climate Resilience in Nepal

18 June 2020

Agriculture under threat

Agriculture is the backbone of Nepal's economy, contributing 27 percent of the country’s GDP and accounting for 66 percent of jobs. The sector, however, is highly dependent on monsoon rains and is increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change. 

In recent years, in fact, climate change and climate variability have had a significant impact on yields and livelihoods in the country. This is fuelled, in particular, by an increase in climate-related hazards, including floods, drought, hailstorms and temperature extremes, among others.

Nepalese farmers often lack the knowledge and expertise required to adapt their farming techniques to new weather patterns and the effects of climate variability. Rural communities are increasingly exposed to risks, including livelihood losses, with inadequate capacities and abilities to respond to shocks.

Determined to address these issues, Nepal worked with FAO and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to increase the adaptive capacity of communities that are most exposed to the impacts of climate change through the Least Developed Countries Fund.

FAO in action 

Under the Reducing vulnerability and increasing adaptive capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change in Nepal project, FAO worked with ministerial partners and local stakeholders, implementing a wide range of initiatives at community and national levels.

Building resilience among farming communities

In order to drive time-efficient adaption to climate change impacts among farming and herding communities, the project promoted a range of simple, easy-to-learn and cost-effective technologies and approaches. Leveraging climate-smart agriculture (CSA) methodologies – such as the sowing of stress-tolerant crop and fodder varieties, riverbed vegetable farming, preparation and use of urea-molasses multi-nutrient blocks, cattle shed improvement – resulted in increased production of crops, vegetables and livestock.

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation 

A core outcome of the project was the strengthening of technical and institutional capacities and the integration of climate change adaptation (CCA) into national food and agriculture policies. With this aim, the FAO worked with its partners in Nepal to facilitate CCA-focused trainings at ministerial and district levels, produce CCA manuals, prepare and implement 120 community-based adaptation plans, and review relevant policy documents. Nepal revised and published its Climate Change Policy 2019, incorporating recommendations made by the project to promote the transition to sustainable, climate-resilient food and agriculture systems.

Leveraging technology for knowledge sharing and resilience

A key element threatening vulnerable communities was the lack of timely information allowing them to respond to climate variability and related shocks. The project addressed this issue by establishing an agro-meteorological early warning system leveraging Android phones which were made available to farming communities. The warning system would, for example, alert farmers of a likely temperature increase in the coming days, and provide suggestions about how to protect their livestock from heat stress by covering sheds with straw and ensuring the animals had sufficient amounts of water.

Key results

By 2019, the project had delivered significant results, leading to strengthened resilience to climate variability among farming communities, and national mainstreaming of climate adaptive policies.

  • 3 484 farmers trained in farmer field schools (FFS) to reduce vulnerability and promote climate-resilient agriculture approaches and adaptation measures
  • 36 good crop, livestock, poultry and fodder practices tested and documented
  • Increased crop production and yields reported by farming communities following the adoption of CSA practices
  • 287 ministerial and district-level staff members trained in CCA approaches
  • 120 community-based adaptation plans prepared
  • A national crop yield forecasting committee established
  • 127 FFS Facilitators and 24 social mobilisers trained
  • Agro-meteorological forecasting capacity enhanced
  • Climate Change Policy 2019 revised by the country

Next Steps

The project was a step towards transforming Nepal’s agriculture into a sustainable and productive system for the benefit of communities and the environment, but climate change adaptation is only one part of the solution. In addition to supporting the agriculture sector in becoming more climate resilient, FAO and GEF are supporting the development of a new project, Enhancing capacity for sustainable management of forests, land and biodiversity in the Eastern Hills, which will strengthen biodiversity conservation and land restoration in crucial landscapes. The project will increase the resilience of ecosystems and landscapes that underpin sustainable livelihoods of people, including agriculture, to improve productivity while safeguarding the environment.

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