ICCO’s Climate-Smart Agriculture Project has been rewarded the Adaptation at Scale Prize for their innovative efforts in the field of climate change adaptation in Nepal.
The Adaptation at Scale Prize is funded by the UK Department for International Development. The prize is awarded to innovative climate change adaptation initiatives that have potential for scaling up to more communities in Nepal. ICCO implements the Climate-Smart Agriculture Project in partnership with ANSAB, Mission East and Innovative Agro-Solution in the Karnali zone in Nepal.
Karnali Zone: poorest region in Nepal
The project is implemented in the Karnali zone, the poorest region of Nepal despite its rich natural resources and biodiversity. Due to its remoteness, people are living under extreme poverty. Limited access to markets and work opportunities and low productivity of lands drag the population into the vicious spiral of deforestation, increased vulnerability to disasters and climate change, chronic food shortages and malnutrition. The people of Karnali are dependent on government food distributions and have limited access to arable lands.
Subsistence farming and youth migration
The agricultural sector in Karnali is unable to catch up with rapid changes such as new technologies, viable products, emerging markets and business possibilities. It is mainly dominated by subsistence farming and traditional farming practices. Farm producers are highly vulnerable due to uncertainty in market prices. There is a widespread negative perception among local people towards farming due to the small returns and the use of traditional farming practices. These factors have led the rural people, especially youth, to migrate to urban areas in search of better livelihood opportunities. This has been negatively affecting the adoption of newer farming technologies, which would increase production and make rural entrepreneurial activities more successful.
250 households use solar pumping irrigation systems
In the project, 250 vulnerable households are engaged in sustainable agriculture and green business development. Households learn how to use solar pumping irrigation systems using zero carbon emission technology, while before they used storage tanks. Besides, organic fertilizer and pesticides and new composting techniques are promoted. Through these initiatives, the productivity of local climate-resistant crops is expected to increase three-fold, providing a solution for the local food gap.
Selling food surplus to international markets
The initiatives will generate a food surplus that will be sold by local producer groups in a joint venture with private agro-business companies, to national and international buyers. This makes the model economically viable and sustainable. In this way, the community will have the ownership over the entire value chain.