With over 60% of Nepal’s population directly dependent on it, agriculture is not just a way of subsistence, but a way of life as well. Although traditional agriculture has always been in sync with people’s needs, local landscapes and climatic conditions, Nepal’s agriculture has taken a turn for the worse in the past couple of decades. Population pressure, excessive and wrong use of pesticide, inappropriate policies by the government and development agencies that replace traditional agricultural methods have led to more and more farmers facing a crisis to sustain themselves.
Faced with these issues, many farmers (especially from marginalized communities) choose to abandon agriculture in search of employment abroad or pull their children out of school for an extra helping hand. In Nepal’s context, improving agricultural productivity not only leads to rising incomes but is also closely tied to our social, health and educational status as a whole.
At Seven Summits, we realize that substantial strides in education cannot be made without improving our agricultural agricultural practices and income. This is why we have partnered with the Himalayan Permaculture Initiative to implement a yearlong sustainable agriculture (permaculture) training program for residents of Bhotenamlang VDC in Sindhupalchok.
Our Barefoot Consultant (BC) from the Himalayan Permaculture Center will work with local residents in these three areas primarily:
- Demonstration: Durga (Our BC) will set up demonstration plots in multiple villages of the VDC. We will focus on showing how local resources can be assembled and used effectively, and how permaculture techniques can lead to an increase in agricultural output while lowering environmental degradation and foreign inputs.
- Training & education: Our main focus is the long-term empowerment of farmers through training and education. Farmers will learn to design and implement numerous techniques such as various composting methods, double-digging, grafting, making nursery beds, system of rice intensification, and also how to plan and market appropriate cash crops.
- Resources: We are working on empowering farmers with the right knowledge and skills required to have long-term access to the seeds, seedlings and information (books, booklets, posters etc.) required to design and implement sustainable agriculture systems on their own farms.
During the year long training program, we will also work with 2 schools to provide hands-on vocational training in sustainable agriculture to students from Grade 6 to 8. At present, children study only the theoretical aspects of proper farming methods in school without any practical demonstrations. Students will now have the opportunity to get their hands dirty while gaining invaluable skills that they can also teach their parents.