Developing Climate-Resilient Value Chain in the Hindukush-Himalayan region

India & Nepal

Climate change and its impacts are making farming a less predictable livelihood for mountain communities in the Hindukush Himalayan region. However, income generation through value addition has the potential to mitigate this condition. There are certain high income, low-volume crops which can be grown only in niche conditions, and adding value to them can make up for potential shortfalls. Large cardamom, one such crop can be grown only under specific conditions–hilly areas on marginal lands having gentle to medium slopes and loamy soil. Besides providing an additional source of income, large cardamom cultivation also helps restore ecological health in areas where it is grown. Similarly, promoting the growth of indigenous crops such as Himalayan Mandua (Finger Millet), Jhangora (Barnyard Millet) and Chaulayi (Amaranthus), which are rich in micronutrients, promotes in situ conservation.

Background of Project

For agricultural activities to be sustainable, they must be economically viable, socially responsible and ecologically sound. Realizing the need to promote optimum resource use and to increase profit margins of farmers in the Central Himalayan region of Uttarakhand and parts of Nepal, the project will aim at sensitizing farmers to undertake sustainable agriculture practices, i.e. organic farming. The project will address the issues of resource availability and control excessive use of harmful agricultural inputs for better soil health, less pesticide residues which lead to high nutrition value crops (Eg. cardamom and millets). A location and context specific approach is adopted by selecting and implementing organic farming practices that are applicable to the region. Further, market linkages will help farmers sell their sustainably grown produce–hence proving socio-economic support and security.

The Project

The program focuses on endorsing sustainable agricultural practices for farmers to increase their yield, as well as improve the Himalayan ecosystem in India and Nepal by addressing water and soil nutrients, introducing agroforestry, etc. The creation of market linkages allows the farmers to have a steady source of income to improve their livelihood.

The Benefits

As a shade crop, cardamom cultivation along the mountainous region contributes to large scale carbon sequestration in the region, and with the value addition along the supply chain and increased yield. This climate-resilient value chain development program improves the livelihood of mountain communities.