Hope for upland rice farmers in Nepal – International Rice Research Institute

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This video, produced by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org ) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD; http://www.ifad.org ), provides highlights of how research in the uplands of Nepal is helping poor farmers reduce hunger and poverty through increased rice yields and increased production of vegetables for cash incomes.

Snow capped mountains, green valleys, peaceful rivers, and rich culture. This is Nepal.not only a feast for the eyes but also home to thousands of upland and lowland farmers who depend on rice for their food need. Many of these farmers are economically and socially marginalized, and are often the poorest.

Traditionally, Nepalese hill farmers rely on rice production for subsistence. Most of them grow traditional varieties. The average rice yield in Nepal has been around two and a half tons per hectare.

Upland rice farming is highly labor-intensive and taxing, especially for women. Besides their household chores, women do most of the farm work such as taking care of animals, weeding, drying, and milling.

The lack of new modern varieties, quality seeds, and better crop management technologies, and limited access to public services, are just some of the many concerns of upland farmers.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD; http://ifad.org ) provided funding to the International Rice Research Institute to implement a project in Nepal.

The project is called Managing Rice Landscapes in the Marginal Uplands for Household Food Security and Environmental Sustainability http://www.ifad.org/operations/projec…

In the mountainous areas of Nepal, farmers grow rice in both upland and lowland fields. The project is focused on developing improved technologies for managing these rice landscapes.

The project has adopted a farmer participatory approach. Farmers are highly involved from the beginning, during implementation, and in the decision-making process.

Research on potential technologies is conducted at village-based field research sites. It is done with the collaboration of the famers and national research organizations. The project in Nepal collaborates with the Lamjung Campus in Sundarbazar, of the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences or IAAS; and the National Rice Research Program, or NRRP, of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council in Kathmandu.

In this video, we shall see the technologies that were identified, tested, and disseminated under the project. It will also show how the farmers benefit from these technologies.

IAAS researchers, with the collaboration of the farmers, identified and tested several suitable upland and lowland rice varieties.

From these varieties, farmers chose Radha-32 and IR55435-5. These farmers came from several villages in Lamjung, Gorkha, and Tanahun districts.

Radha 32 can be grown in both the lowland and upland . Another variety, IR55435-5, has consistently outperformed the preferred local varieties. Farmers like it because of its higher number of filled grains and straw yield. Farm animals like the soft straw. The straw feeds farm animals, such as cattle and buffalo, during the dry season.

From the IAAS-assisted areas, we have seen and heard the reasons why farmers preferred and adopted the varieties mentioned compared with others.

Let us now travel to East Nepal. The National Rice Research Program-assisted area of the project is in Mahottari District, which has two research sites—Patu and Bhapasi.

Here, farmers preferred NR-601-5, RHS-397, BM 9855, and Hardinath-1. Farmers chose these varieties for their higher yield, good eating quality, and suitability to a rice-wheat cropping pattern. BM 9855 and NR-601-5 also perform well in rainfed lowland and irrigated conditions.

The ability to grow spring rice is a blessing for farmers in the lower hills because they can grow two crops in one year—one in spring and one in the summer.

Hardinath-1 is the most popular spring-season variety in the Churia Hills.

The variety is popular because it matures early, which allows growing a second crop. Hardinath-1 is also high yielding, and has good milling and eating qualities. It is also tolerant of drought and major rice diseases.

The project distributed Hardinath-1 seeds to farmers in Bhapsi and Patu villages. The seeds were also distributed to farmers in seven neighboring districts with the collaboration of the district agricultural development offices for varietal demonstration and wider dissemination.

Good-quality seeds are important inputs of production for farmers. Farmers rely on good seeds for their next harvest…….

Narrator: Alice Laborte
Script Editor: Bill Hardy
Video Editor: Jessica Catapang
Scriptwriters: Sushil Pandey and Gina E. Zarsadias
Overall production: Gina E. Zarsadias


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