Combating Land Degradation and Climate Change Mitigation through Agroforestry in Shifitng Cultivation Blocks in Makawanpur of Central Nepal [Nepal]

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Reporting Entity: Nepal

Completeness: 86%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Combating Land Degradation and Climate Change Mitigation through Agroforestry in Shifitng Cultivation Blocks in Makawanpur of Central Nepal



Reporting Entity:



Prevailing land use in the specified location

  • Cropland
  • Uproductive land

Contribution to Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) measures

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation
  • Adaptation
  • Rehabilitation

Contribution to the strategic objectives

  • To improve the living conditions of affected populations
  • To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems
  • To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the Convention

Linkages with the other best practice themes

  • Capacity-building and awareness-raising
  • DLDD and SLM monitoring and assessment/research
  • Knowledge management and decision support
  • Funding and resource mobilization
  • Participation, collaboration and networking


Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)

Short description of the best practice

1. It lays emphasis on proper management of marginal uplands: The project considers utilization of marginal lands and land area prone to landslide under agroforestry with fruits and NTFPs in the dry area where most of the poor people live with worst form of poverty and are deprived of necessary technological breakthrough. Banana, pineapples, citrus and broom grass are locally available plant species and are user friendly, have been widely planted in such areas which otherwise would remain unproductive for a long period.
2. It matches the needs and resources of the targeted groups:  The Chepang, Tamang and Dalits altogether 78% are impoverished, marginalized and resource-poor indigenous groups.  They are largely benefitted.
3. It is gender-sensitive. The Project’s main objective was to provide food and income security to the disadvantaged women and children by improving productivity of their dryland agriculture. In overall 80% women from disadvantaged community participated in the project.  
4. It addresses the problems of both poverty and land degradation- desertification:  In over all, the community has been able to achieve an increase in annual food security and ultimately an improvement in living standards through the sales of different agroforestry crops like banana, pineapples, broom grass and other cash crops like ginger and turmeric grown as intercrop within banana farm.  


Makawanpur of Central Nepal

If the location has well defined boundaries, specify its extension in hectares:

244457 ha

Estimated population living in the location:


Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby

Land tenure and land use right: More than 85% of land not registered
o Income level: Subsistence
Main income source: Livestock, forestry and agriculture

On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?

The project has won Ryotaro Hashimoto Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development Award 2008. The award carries a purse of USD20,000 and a gold medal.|

Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice

Main problems addressed by the best practice

1. Livelihood
2. Land degradation and
3. Climate change mitigation

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

•The hedgerow system with broom grass: As reported by Annual Report of NARC 2000; 40-60% erosion could be reduced by adopting hedgerow.
•Understory_Intercropping: Ginger and turmeric within banana farm
•Alley cropping system with banana, pineapples and fodders (leucaena lecocephala; Ipil-ipil)

Specify the objectives of the best practice

1. Control of slash and burn practices with improved agroforestry i.e. by SALT methods in Khoriya lands
2. Livelihood promotion
3. Capacity building and empowerment of affected families

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

Appropriate Agroforestry system in slash and burn zones
1. Alley cropping system fruits (like banana, pineapples) and fodders
3. Integration of livestock
2. Broom grass as hedgerow

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

SALT- 1: Sloping Agricultural Land Technology
This model focuses mainly on food crop production. It is simple in application, low in cost, but is an effective agroforestry technology with agricultural crops and forestry in a ratio of 3:1. Compared to traditional upland farming management practices, this technology substantially decreases erosion. In addition, it increases crop yield.
SALT - 2: Small Agro-livestock Technology
This model focuses on agriculture and livestock technology. It is a simple modification of SALT-I in the sense that it integrates livestock rearing with crop cultivation. The livestock species that can be raised under the system are cattle, sheep, and goats. The manure is a good source of fertilizer. Goats (the poor man's cow) are a potential source of milk, meat, hair and skin.
SALT- 3:  Sustainable Agroforest Land Technology
SALT-III includes conversion of non-productive marginal land into economically productive land to supplement production from other SALT models. This model has three components: SALT I, SALT II, and a separate plot of land to produce valuable timber. Farmers owning landholdings of about two hectares can use this model.
SALT- 4: Small Agro-fruit Livelihood Technology
SALT-IV focuses on developing a horticulture and plantation crop-based system known as the "agro-fruit livelihood technology". To improve hill agriculture and economics, commercialization of hill agriculture is required. Thus, horticulture is a promising option with comparative advantages. The objectives of this model are to produce food, increase cash income, and conserve soil on farmlands.
Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) is soil conservation oriented farming system developed in the Philippines in the late 1970s by one of the NGO called as Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center. This has now been researched throughout the globe. The technologies under SALT are found to be effective in conserving soil and water, enhancing soil fertility and increasing crop production.
Objective 1.: Livelihood Promotion
1. Establishment of community irrigation schemes, micro-irrigation schemes
2. Selection of marketable crops under agroforestry system that is easily saleable, gives good prices and are user friendly
3. Technical training and capacity building

Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

MDI Nepal|Nepal

Was the technology developed in partnership?


List the partners:

1. Several community of the target area ( 4 VDCs)
2. MDI field staffs (Subject matter specialists)
3. Research studies done by various institutions

Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • Local initiative
  • National initiative – non-government-led
  • Programme/project-based initiative

Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?


List local stakeholders involved:

Members of Niguretar Agricultural Cooperatives Ltd Raksirang VDC
Member of Rupachuri Agricultural Cooperative Ltd. Manahari VDC,
Churiya Mai Agricultural Cooperative Ltd., Handikhola VDC
Janchetana Agricultural Cooperative Ltd., Kankada VDC,
Members of Amriso Community Organization, Silinge, Kankad|

For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.

In selection of crop species

Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?


By means of what?
  • Consultation
  • Participatory approaches


Section 5. Contribution to impact

Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)

1 Social Impacts: The impacts include – i) institutional networks and linkages at local and district levels;
ii) Raising concerns over tenancy rights on the land under shifting cultivation between national and district level government authorities and
2 iii) Education and health of local women and
Production or productivity
1.  It has been a success story that some 2.7 million plants (60% broomgrass) of different species (banana, pineapples, fodders, broom grass, goat, vegetables, honey etc.) grown in such marginal lands have been able to give annual income worth of Rs. 30-35 thousand (US $ |
1.As of August 2010, income from the sale of bananas, pineapples, broom grass , citrus, vegetables and other cash crops like ginger, turmeric (within banana crops) that were adopted after initiation of the project, totaled more than $100,000 equivalent. Besides, the value of land has increased in |
1. The adoption of agroforestry in areas with steep slopes reduces erosion and the landslide which are the basis of land degradation and desertification.  The planting of trees in an agroforestry system also takes GHG out of the atmosphere and helps in carbon sequestation. Largely reduced fuel wood

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

Since the slashing and burning or Khoriya farming could not yield any substantial production rather the productive soils are washed out due to erosion and landslide, theu the farmers have no option rather than to adapt Agroforestry.
•Trees are deep rooted and have large reserves, and are less susceptible than annual crops to inter-annual variability or short-lived extreme events like droughts or floods.  Thus, trees offer diversification options that can reduce production risks for small holder farmers.  
•Trees are a perennial resource that can be exploited to provide increased income during difficult periods, thereby reducing income risks associated with climate related shocks for small holder farming families.
The coplete halting of slashing and burning of the vegetation curb the emission of carbon dioxide. Likewise, agroforestry locks carbon in its biomass thus reducing climate change effects and so does the practice of quitting bush burns effects.  |
Agroforestry is a land-use method that allows trees to grow in crop and livestock areas. Studies have shown that it
•is one way to conserve biodiversity as the farm maintains multiple crops as compared to monoculture
•attracts species beneficial to farming, such as pollinators and offers habitat or shelter for other wild animals
•improves farms by, for example, reducing soil erosion

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?



Agroforestry  system  showed better  result  for all  three criteria NPV, B-C  ratio and  return  to labor. NPV,  including  household  labor, was  130,951 Rs/ha  in  agroforestry  as  compared  to 11,796 Rs/ha  in  shifting  cultivation. NPV,  not  including  household  labor, was much  higher (173,001 Rs/ ha) in agroforestry system than Khoriya farming (Rs/ha 33411). Similarly return to  labor was  almost  60%  higher  in  agroforestry  system. The B-C  ratio  in Khoriya  farming including household labor opportunity cost was less than 1 indicating that the system was not financially profitable land use system (Table 4) when labor opportunity cost was considered.   
(Based on the analysis of Mr. Rigendra Khadka; prepared for his master thesis on “Transition from   slash -and -burn (Khoriya) farming to permanent agroforestry in the Middle hills of Nepal; An analysis of costs, benefits and farmers’ adoption for submission to Department of International Environment and Development Studies, P.O. Box 5003, N-1432 Ås Norway, Tel.: +47 64 96 52 00 , Fax: +47 64 96 52 01
Internet: http://www.umb.no/noragric)

Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?



The hills and mountains collectively called uplands constitute two third of the total land area of Nepal. The proportion of land with more than 30% slope is 66.3 percent. While shifting cultivation is practiced in some land, the project components can be replicated in almost all of these sloppy areas. Regionally, Eastern Himalayan region encompassing Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and South China are other potential places for scaling up of the technology as shifting cultivation in the slope lands is widely practiced in these regions too. The project has thus huge replication potential.   Given the economic contributions and support provided by a wide variety of NGOs and UN agencies, the potential for replicating this project are positive.  The results that were achieved have managed to positively change the environment by transitioning traditional slash and burn agriculture to a more sustainable path.  The successful planning and implementation of the SALT methods of agroforestry in the hills of Makawanpur has presented an excellent example to successfully replicate in similar hills of Nepal and abroad. Many of the hill farmers in Makawanpur and Udaypur districts of the country are attracted with this technology and are gradually adopting. It is learnt that similar agroforestry system has also been applied in East Timor by CARE International sharing experiences from UNDP GEF/SGP Makawanpur programme. Four members Mr. Tome Guterres, Trainee National Project Manager, Mr. Nivio Benevides District Risk Management Officer, Mr. Luis Berebuti, Trainee National Project Manager and Mr. Jose Da Cruz, Monitoring Officer made a cross visit to agroforestry project of Makawanpur and shared their experiences. |

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?


Specify which type of incentives:
  • Policy or regulatory incentives (for example, related to market requirements and regulations, import/export, foreign investment, research & development support, etc)
  • Financial incentives (for example, preferential rates, State aid, subsidies, cash grants, loan guarantees, etc)
  • Fiscal incentives (for example, exemption from or reduction of taxes, duties, fees, etc)

Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?

1. Selected agroforestry species are user friendly, quick income generating nature with established market linkages
3. Social mobilization in developing Institutional plateforms (such as groups and cooperatives) were enabled
Linked with,
• Linked to the local context and thus cannot be replicated elsewhere
• Replicable elsewhere with some level of adaptation √
• Replicable elsewhere with major adaptation √
Linked with, |
2. The technologies were developed through rigorous consultations with the users


In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?


At which level?
  • Local
  • Sub-national
  • National
  • Regional

Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

Poor, given some outside support have been able to create capital (physical, human and social) and use it efficiently to improve their quality of life and achieve self-reliance. Complete poverty eradication in an area, which has limited resource base, human and institutional capacity, physical inaccessibility, is difficult in the short run. For poverty eradication sustained effort on a long-term basis would be required in order not to dissipate the effort that has been made by the support organization on the ground. In order to continue the effort outside support as well as local bodies would be required to achieve desired result.
Lessons have been learned from the Project, including the following:
 Initiatives based on acute local needs generally have more chances to succeed. The Project’s point of departure was utilizing marginal lands under horticulture which has been found significant to affect livelihood in the shifting cultivation zones.   
 Rigorous training and support can help inspire technical know-how in remote communities with low levels of literacy.  
 With some outside support and resources, impoverished and marginalized indigenous people are able to implement technology-driven initiatives.
 With the same support and resources, they can also improve their quality of life and increase their self-reliance.
 Little is sometimes needed to help highly vulnerable groups create capital and use it efficiently to reduce their own vulnerability to natural hazards.
 Building partnership between various institutions such as local bodies, donors, government agencies and local communities is important in order to solicit more support for poverty alleviation and environmental programming.
 Poor have been able to save and invest out of income and minimizing surplus leakage by controlling available expenses because of institutional support provided by the project. In lot of cases groups have generated enough savings to reduce demand for non-institutional credit resulting in reduction of interest rate in non-formal market.

Related to financial aspects

1. The new initiative appealed the local people but the resource was tiny to make considerable dent in terms of area and household coverage.

Related to technical aspects

1. Nutrient management for the grown up plants is crucial. There must be appropriate combinations of crop species mixed with legumes and non-legumes. Presently banana, pineapples mixed with some legumes trees and grass like ipil-ipil and stylo are in combination, assuming that these plants can supply nitrogen to banana and pineapples. For some years this combinations can be able to replenish nutrient and give sustainable harvest. However, in the long run this system requires careful planning so |

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