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Smallholder Peri-Urban Organic Farming in Nepal: A Comparative Analysis of Farming Systems
by Gopal Datt Bhattaa and Werner Dopplerb
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.013.002, pp. 163–180
AbstractFarming in the peri-urban areas of Nepal is increasingly characterized by monocropping and the imprudent use of agrochemicals. This intensification has raised questions about the sustainability of farming systems in the region. In this paper, we do a comparative assessment of these farming systems, focusing on organic production in the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. The relative inaccessibility of farming accessories and of modern farming technologies usually leads rural farmers to follow traditional farming methods, sometimes referred to as "default organic." In contrast, access to infrastructures opens avenues for further development of ecological farming in peri-urban areas. Gross margin analysis indicates that organic vegetable production is a lucrative endeavor in the area under study. Urbanites are willing to buy organic vegetables, but the higher price and lack of certification of organically produced vegetables are factors that should be taken into account by producers and organizations working in organic production. We suggest that nongovernmental bodies, along with government-run institutions, cooperatives, and community-based organizations, can play a facilitating role for a smallholder organic growers certification program. They should also support peri-urban farmers in their efforts to enhance the environment and agrobiodiversity.
Keywords: farm-family income, Nepal, organic vegetables, peri-urban areas, spatial sampling, indigenous knowledge, smallholder
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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