ESSENTIAL: Climate-smart agriculture takes off, thanks to ‘women-friendly’ tools and a gender-smart approach
There is an urgent need for climate-smart agriculture in Nepal. Climate change is affecting the livelihoods of the two-thirds of Nepalis who work in agriculture. Many farmers already follow farming practices that cause long-term environmental damage, such as haphazard over-application of chemicals and unsustainable natural resource use, which degrade soil quality and fertility. Climate change compounds these detrimental effects.
A climate-smart agriculture initiative by Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) across different agroecological areas of Nepal demonstrates key ‘success factors’ for achieving climate-resilient rural development. These include:
1. Work with women farmers to understand how climate-smart agriculture technologies can deliver multiple development and wellbeing benefits for them and their families. In particular, identify site-specific solutions that could reduce women’s workloads while delivering improved income stability and food security.
2. Integrate climate smart-agriculture into the government’s regular work programme at provincial and municipal levels. In this case, LI-BIRD established how the Chief Minster’s Environment Friendly Model Agriculture Village Programme (CMEFMAVP) of Gandaki province could be effectively integrated into local agricultural strategies.
3. Engage women political leaders in the process. In Nepal, ‘travelling seminars’ enabled female politicians to have interactive discussions with farmers and learn about on-the ground realities of agriculture and climate change. Through this initiative, women political leaders developed important messages for advocating in policy processes.