Should we go for conservation agriculture in Nepal?

The conservation agriculture (CA) is a set of practices consisting of three core principles; maintenance of permanent or semi-permanent soil cover; minimum soil disturbance, and regular crop rotations. The factors namely precision land leveling, notill systems, furrow iirrigated raised bed planting systems, easy accessibility of machines/equipments, crop residue management practice and crop diversification in Terai and plain areas enhance the suitability of CA in those areas but in the hills the presence of sloppy terraces makes cultivation difficult, scope of crop residue incorporation is limited since it is used for livestock fodder, no or limited roads to transport the heavy machines/equipments, poor affordability of the farmers for machines and rainfed agriculture that may limit the promotion of CA based technologies. In Nepal the extension and adoption of CA technologies are in the primary stage and for their expansion, they require concerted efforts of all the stakeholders in the partnership and participatory approaches. Today scenario of labor scarcity, increasing production costs and declining or static productivity are the major challenges of agriculture in Nepal. CA promotes reverse degradation processes, improves resource quality, reduces production costs and helps achieve sustained high productivity. Therefore promoting and adopting CA management systems in Terai and plain areas can provide sustainable and increased crop production in Nepal.

By: Tika Bahadur Karki* and Jiban Shrestha