Smallholder Peri-Urban Organic Farming in Nepal: A Comparative Analysis of Farming Systems
AbstractFarming in the peri-urban areas of Nepal is increasingly characterized by monocropping and the imprudent use of agrochemicals. This intensification has raised questions about the sustainability of farming systems in the region. In this paper, we do a comparative assessment of these farming systems, focusing on organic production in the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. The relative inaccessibility of farming accessories and of modern farming technologies usually leads rural farmers to follow traditional farming methods, sometimes referred to as "default organic." In contrast, access to infrastructures opens avenues for further development of ecological farming in peri-urban areas. Gross margin analysis indicates that organic vegetable production is a lucrative endeavor in the area under study. Urbanites are willing to buy organic vegetables, but the higher price and lack of certification of organically produced vegetables are factors that should be taken into account by producers and organizations working in organic production. We suggest that nongovernmental bodies, along with government-run institutions, cooperatives, and community-based organizations, can play a facilitating role for a smallholder organic growers certification program. They should also support peri-urban farmers in their efforts to enhance the environment and agrobiodiversity.
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