Leasing land for food

Nepal, Parche | October 16th, 2011

2011 Blog Action Day on 16 October – World Food Day – is, naturally, themed around food

The hill and mountain districts of far and mid-western Nepal have been hit by persistent food insecurity. The agricultural produce is not sufficient for household consumption in many areas of the country due to high dependency on subsistence agriculture, very small land holdings, inequality in land holdings, low productivity, limited agricultural infrastructure, use of traditional tools and lack of appropriate technologies.

In my recent visit to one of the Practical Action’s project sites in mid-west Nepal I saw a ray of hope where people were continuing the land leasing approach for food production introduced by Practical Action.

A women land leasing group (Jhumka Land Leasing Group) sharing their experiences in mid-west Nepal

Practical Action, with support of the European Union, implemented a food security project in this area, focusing on a land leasing approach targeting smallholder farmers who owns less than 0.05 hectare of land or are landless.

The project has supported the group of small land-holding or landless farmers in accessing the land through a land leasing approach. The project has also people in accessing various appropriate agricultural technologies, extension services, agri-infrastructures and linking with markets.

A survey indicated that the proportion of project households having food sufficiency for less than three months has been decreased to 6.7% from 58.3%. The study also revealed that the food sufficiency for three to six months, six to nine months and more than nine months have been increased to 41, 33.8 and 18.5% from 28, 10.7 and 2.9 per cent respectively.

The smallholding farmers, who I met recently, were very happy and were continuously practicing the plastic house technology and micro irrigation technology in their leased land. They were receiving support from the local agro-vets and local resource people developed by the project. It is encouraging that from the selling of the vegetables and other agricultural produces, they were able to buy some pieces of land on their own where they can grow more produce to fulfill their food need.

With this evidence, I think the land leasing approach can be a sustainable approach that can be replicated elsewhere while working with the smallholders or landless farmers to secure or improve their food security conditions.

5 responses to “Leasing land for food”

  1. margaret Gardner Says:

    Thanks for a really interesting blog Upendra. Do you see and problems with teh leased land approach or improvements we could make?

  2. upendra Shrestha Says:

    Thanks, Margaret. The main problem we faced in land leasing approach was around the availability of the productive land for leasing. To overcome this we promoted leasing of public land owned by schools, temples etc. As an alternative we also promoted river bank farming which are mainly owned by the government.

  3. Tim Parkinson Says:

    I am really impressed by the results you report, Upendra. Could you expand a little on how the finances of the leasing work and whether Practical Action makes any contribution to help the farmers who have very little money, I guess.

  4. upendra Shrestha Says:

    Many thanks, Tim, regarding finances of the leasing, the project used cost sharing model. A four year cost-sharing model was designed as follows: 100% contribution of project towards land rent, seeds and fertilisers in the first year, 75% contribution in the second year, 50% contribution in the third year and 25% contribution of the project in the fourth year. Besides this, project installed treadle pump in each plot (around 600 metere square of land) of leased land and provided training and technical backstopping.

  5. Jos Jansen Says:

    My name is Jos Jansen, i am a Dutch agri culture advisor, working for a big well known ashram here in Nepal. I am specialized in developing agri culture projects and renewable energy. If i can be of any help than please contact me.

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