Small scale subsistence agriculture employs 78 percent of Nepal’s workforce, with the agriculture sector as a whole contributing to 34.3 percent of country’s GDP. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of floods and droughts and therefore food vulnerability of the already 3.4 million food insecure people living in Nepal.
Nepal is a landlocked, mountainous country located in the Himalayas between India and China in South Asia. Despite its small size, Nepal is characterized by diverse climatic conditions. The majority of the country’s 23 million inhabitants live in rural areas. Small scale subsistence agriculture employs 78% of the country’s workforce, with the agriculture sector as a whole contributing to 34.3 percent of Nepal’s GDP.
Various climate change scenarios have indicated that warming, particularly at high elevations, will lead to reduction in snow and ice coverage. This, in turn, will increase the frequency of floods and droughts which is likely to increase the food vulnerability of the already 3.4 million food insecure people in Nepal. . Other reported climate related issues have included growing threats from Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), disappearing forests in some areas; invasion of exotic species, disease outbreaks, threats to biodiversity and sharp sustained declines in food security. As a result agricultural production and rural livelihoods are at risk. With low literacy rates, wide spread poverty and a high dependency on natural resources there is a limited capacity in Nepal to adapt to future climate change risks (World Bank 2011).
UNDP and FAO are supporting farming communities in Nepal identify and implement adaptation strategies through the Integrating Agriculture Into NAPs initiative. This entails:
- Supporting the Ministry of Agricultural Development to mainstream and operationalize climate adaptation into the Agricultural Development Strategy and related Programmes
- Enhancing economic appraisal of adaptation measures and linking this to budgeting prioritisation efforts
- Building participatory monitoring and evaluation capacity at local level with relevant agricultural agencies and decentralized authorities
- Undertaking demonstration projects with farmers and developing case studies to feed into NAP process
This work is being undertaken in the context of Nepal’s Agricultural Development Strategy as well as its Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Agriculture – Priority Framework for Action 2011- 2020.
Nepal - Government investment in climate change paying off, say reports
Investment made by the government to help Nepali farmers adapt to climate change is having a positive impact on the income level of farmers, according to recent studies by the Ministry of Agriculture Development, National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Freedom Forum and UNDP.
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Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya, who works as a Joint Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nepal, shares in this video his views about the importance of integrating the agriculture sectors in the country’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
Nepal is a mountainous and land-locked country, where agriculture sectors are very important as employers and sources of the gross domestic product. Nepal is also highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Especially women and children are vulnerable groups.