By Yushika Subedi/Nepal
Edited by Rubina Karki/Nepal
Graphic by John Myron Gadiane/Philippines
Due to climate change, various adverse effects have been observed in agriculture in Nepal. Peasant farmers in Nepal have chiefly identified climate variation as responsible for declining crop and livestock production in Nepal. The subsistence farming economy has been affected due to changes in the reliability of streamflow, an intense and potentially erratic monsoon rainfall, and the impacts of flooding.
The decline in rainfall from November to April has adversely affected the winter and spring crops. Likewise, the decline in food production has consequently threatened food security. In addition to this, an increase in temperature has influenced the change in the timing intensity and volume of rainfall. Flood has increased year by year and taken lives, destroyed tangible assets, displaced people, and even inundated and deposited sediments on agricultural lands.
The drought has been another phenomenon of climate change and has affected both winter and summer crops. Since only limited land has irrigation facilities, agriculture production is highly dependable on favorable weather conditions, mainly on the monsoon timing and availability of rainwater. A late or erratic monsoon causes losses of crops and results in food insecurity. This situation makes the agriculture sector one of the most vulnerable sectors in Nepal.
Climate variability has resulted in shifts of agro-ecological zones, prolonged dry spells, and a higher incidence of occurrence of pests and diseases. The extreme climatic condition has fed to increased incidence of fire in recent years and loss of large areas of protective forest land. While the agricultural productivity of Nepal already remains to be one of the lowest in South Asia, if the current production growth remains constant and demand for agricultural products continue to rise, it is likely that in 3 to 5 years, Nepal will become consistently food deficit at the national level even in the time of normal harvest.
The ways to combat the aforementioned impacts of climate change on livestock and agriculture can be:
Climate Change challenges can be resolved well if every individual and organization sincerely works to raise awareness among people and mitigate the drawbacks it can cause.
Yushika Subedi is one of our Project Members for ATO - ClimatEducate Project in South Asia. She is a climate activist based in Nepal since 2015, she has been advocating for climate change action in rural communities in Nepal.