Enhancing rural livelihoods by increasing productivity of underutilised agriculture land

Abandoned agriculture land in mid hill of Nepal

Project title: Enhancing rural livelihoods by increasing productivity of underutilised/ abandoned agriculture land

Location: Kaski and Parbat Districts, Nepal

Duration: January 2017 – December 2018

Project background: Increasing area of underutilised/abandoned agriculture land in Nepal is a becoming a challenge in the midst of national agenda of poverty alleviation and increased food and nutrition security as impacted by decreasing labor force in agriculture production system vis-a- vis institutional setup and policy gap to curtail current tenure issue/ challenges towards encouraging land owners to utilize such lands in a productive means.

In the recent years, rural Nepal has been undergoing a complex process of transition involving out-migration, urbanization, commercialisation and monetisation of the local economy. This shift presents new challenges for the agrarian economy, many of which created emergent problems unique to Nepal. In the last few years, there is a dramatic growth in out-migration, especially of active male from rural areas to the urban centers or for foreign employment. This migration pattern has created feminization of the agricultural workforce as well as adoption of less intensive farming in many rural areas, with fewer crops available throughout the annual cropping cycle. A concomitant effect is the increase of underutilised/ abandoned agricultural land.

Few considerations have been given for developing and trialling options to generate income from underutilised/abandoned agricultural land, although the potential is evident. 

Realising the need to address the issue of land underutilization/ abandonment, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has started pilot project “Enhancing rural livelihoods in underutilised/abandoned agricultural land through agroforestry” through its Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) of FAO, Nepal. The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) is the government collaborator and IUCN Nepal to execute project activities.

Objectives of the project:

This Project is envisioned to enhance livelihoods of people through identifying, testing and adopting best bet agroforestry options in underutilised/abandoned agricultural land and promoting agroforestry enterprises. Overall, this will impact and strengthen the livelihoods of farming communities. The project will share and disseminate the knowledge and evidence of successful utilization of the underutilised/ abandoned agricultural land, to scale up and scale out the proven practices.

Expected outputs:

  • Knowledge on status of underutilized/abandoned agricultural land acquired and established,
  • Best bet agroforestry options to utilize abandoned agricultural/underutilized  land piloted,
  • A national action plan for scaling up of utilizing underutilized/abandoned agricultural land developed, and
  • Awareness raising and capacity building program for concerned stakeholders on the promotion and adoption of agroforestry options and enterprises through the use of abandoned agricultural land planned and executed, and project results/experiences shared. 

Donor: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Partners: Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation

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