Universal Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 2(7), pp. 253 - 263
DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2014.020705
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Climate Smart Management Options for Improving the Soil Fertility and Farm Productivity in the Middle Hills of Nepal


A. Shrestha *, B. K. Bishwakarma , R. Allen
Sustainable Soil Management Programme (SSMP), HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal, GPO Box 688, Kathmandu, Nepal

ABSTRACT

Increasing food demand and climate change pose a major challenge to the sustainability of food production systems and safeguarding environmental health. Nepal's economy is primarily reliant on agriculture which is highly sensitive to climate variability. Key concerns in the middle hills of Nepal include declining soil fertility and soil degradation, changing temperature and precipitation patterns, and pest and disease outbreaks, all of which are affecting productivity, prices, incomes, and ultimately livelihoods. This paper describes some simple, farmer-friendly climate smart management options, and analyses their importance, effectiveness and impacts on improving soil fertility and farm productivity. Simple and widely-adopted sustainable soil management and agronomic practices, which are based on efficient use of local resources, include improvement in preparation and management of farmyard manure (FYM) and compost, systematic collection of cattle urine and its use as a base for botanical pesticide and liquid fertilizer, integrating legumes and fodder crops into cropping systems, small-scale collection of rain and run-off water, and improved water use efficiency. These practices have resulted in a statistically significant increase in soil organic matter levels, and have improved soil fertility and structure, workability, and moisture characteristics. Soil organic matter reached a mean of 3.77% from 3.32% after adoption of sustainable soil management practices over the period of 1-3 years in 337 farm sites. The nitrogen content of topsoil significantly increased overall (0.17% to 0.2%) and in 3 of 5 time series. Similarly, nitrogen content of improved FYM significantly increased in 3 of 5 series and overall on 350 farmer's fields over a period of 1 to 3 years. 18.6 kg additional N was annually gained from a mature cattle with improved farmyard manure management techniques and systematic collection of urine. Additional benefits include enhanced soil carbon storage, and improved crop resilience to changes in weather patterns. Adoption of these practices has contributed to increased productivity, enhanced income, improved food security, and a beneficial impact on the workload of women.

KEYWORDS
Climate Change, Food Security, Farmyard Manure, Soil Fertility, Sustainable Soil Management, Soil Organic Matter

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] A. Shrestha , B. K. Bishwakarma , R. Allen , "Climate Smart Management Options for Improving the Soil Fertility and Farm Productivity in the Middle Hills of Nepal," Universal Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 2, No. 7, pp. 253 - 263, 2014. DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2014.020705.

(b). APA Format:
A. Shrestha , B. K. Bishwakarma , R. Allen (2014). Climate Smart Management Options for Improving the Soil Fertility and Farm Productivity in the Middle Hills of Nepal. Universal Journal of Agricultural Research, 2(7), 253 - 263. DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2014.020705.