Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation of Agriculture in a Mountain region of Western Nepal

Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation of Agriculture in a Mountain region of Western Nepal
Agriculture is one of the sectors most vulnerable to climate change impact. The impact is even stronger in Mountain region of Nepal, where the topography is fragile and agriculture is important for the daily subsistence. Therefore, it is crucial to increase the understanding of the actual climate change dynamics on agricultural activities at the household level. This study uses the Prok Village Development Committee in western mountain region of Nepal, as a case study to examine the local climatic trends and its impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in the agriculture sector. The study uses semi-structured interview and participatory appraisals methods to garner the socio-economic data and filed based observation and laboratory analysis of soil samples for study of soil vulnerability. Socio-economic status of farmers in the villages of Prok VDC is found very poor and they are vulnerable to climate change. Soil of this region is stony and sandy loam and the crop yield is lower than national average. Trend analysis of temperature and precipitation over 30 years indicates that this region is experiencing various weather variability. The result shows a trend of gradual, erratic and extreme weather changes where farming system is constrained. Farmer perceptions on climate change generally agree with the weather station trend. Erratic changes in rainfall pattern, temperature variation and gradual reduction in snowfall are some of the main constraining factors on farming. Drought, delay in monsoon and heavy and unseasonal rain are major challenges on agriculture. Majority of the farmers believe that crop failure, crop damage, degradation of pasture, low quality fodder and forage are due to the increase in temperature, erratic precipitation pattern and windstorms in their village. The changing scenario has forced local people to find measures to secure their livelihoods. To cope with the impacts the societies use re-sowing, cultivating catch crops and short seasoned crops, shifting of animal shed to less landslide risk area, planting fodder tress and practicing agroforestry, saving of grains and money, on land diversification, off-farm activities and credits as a strategy. The existing local and institutional strategies are not sufficient and sustainable to cope with climatic vagaries. It is very important to address the problems in this region with institutional support and through a long-term policy perspective.
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