|Title||Agricultural intensification in Nepal, with particular reference to systems of rice intensification|
|Source||University. Promotor(en): Thomas Kuijper, co-promotor(en): Harro Maat. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462579651 - 190|
Knowledge Technology and Innovation
|Publication type||Dissertation, internally prepared|
|Keyword(s)||rice - oryza sativa - nepal - asia - south asia - intensification - livelihoods - livelihood strategies - farming systems - farming - crop management - fertilizers - nutrients - irrigation - varieties - rijst - azië - zuid-azië - intensivering - middelen van bestaan - strategieën voor levensonderhoud - bedrijfssystemen - landbouw bedrijven - gewasteelt - kunstmeststoffen - voedingsstoffen - irrigatie - rassen (planten)|
|Categories||Cropping Systems / Rice|
This thesis deals with agricultural intensification in Nepal. The initial focus of the study was the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), as introduced in Nepal from 2001. The multiple factors affecting SRI adoption, modification and dissemination together with the option to apply SRI in different combinations of its components result in a variety of SRI applications. For the same reason the effect of SRI on overall agricultural and livelihood development of Nepalese farmers has to be evaluated within the variety of farming systems in which it is applied.
Despite government policies to promote rice cultivation, national rice production is declining. Farmer livelihood strategies, as reflected in rice farming systems, and field management strategies were influenced by several agro-ecological and socio-economic factors. Livelihood and field management strategies of rice farmers are interconnected. In the study presented here four livelihood strategies and three kinds of field management strategies are distinguished. Two livelihood strategies can be characterized as more intensive and more productive; the other two are less intensive and less productive. Livelihood strategies are more family resource-based strategies, while farmers’ field management strategies are more context-dependent. Field management strategies were characterized by forms of nutrient management. Intensive management strategies had most similarities with SRI. But rice intensification is not achievable as a general strategy.
Government policies (fertiliser subsidies) encourage increased fertiliser use. Study results didn't show any significant effect of volume of fertilisers on rice yield but the combined use of organic manure and mineral fertilisers resulted in the highest average rice yields. Irrigation management is another important factor for rice production. Field management is influenced by the reliability of water which was better in farmers' managed irrigation system. Choice of rice varieties influenced the overall rice farming system and cropping intensity and preference of varieties for rice cultivation by scientists and by farmers were different in eastern Nepal. Most popular varieties were those not recommended by science and policy and were disseminated farmer to farmer.
The introduction of SRI in Morang district resulted in several changes in rice farming, but only part of the farmers have adopted such technologies, and adoption has been only in part of their fields. Other farmers have incorporated some SRI practices in their conventional practices. After the introduction of SRI, farmers further tested, re-packaged or hybridized SRI methods to make SRI ideas suitable for their agro-ecological and socio-economic environments. In order to reform Nepalese rice farming, we need to recognize that different farmers, with different livelihood strategies, and with access to different kinds of fields, need different forms for agricultural intensification. High-intensive farmers prefer to use modified SRI methods where there is good irrigation and drainage facilities. There are many possibilities for improvement of the existing nutrient management practices of rice farmers in Nepal. Nutrient management will be useful to increase rice production because the majority of farmers currently use fertilisers non-judiciously. The SRI-recommended practices (younger seedlings, early weeding, use of organic manure, and alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation) will be useful to improve the nutrient use efficiency of rice farmers. Cost-reduction strategies and less labour-intensive cultivation practices will be appropriate options to improve existing rice farming system of Nepal. Participatory cultivar selection and dissemination will be better strategies to introduce new, promising rice cultivars among rice farmers.