The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional organization of the 8 Himalayan countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar). The Centre for Environment and Agriculture Policy Research, Extension and Development (CEAPRED) is a Nepalese national developmental NGO.

Under the Himlayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) of ICIMOD, four Climate Smart Village (CSV) pilots are designed and implemented in the Kavre District, Nepal.

The pilot villages are located in mid-hills of Himalayas between 800 to 2,000 masl. Almost all households in the pilot villages are dependent on subsistence farming with less than 1 hectare of land ownership. The income levels are below poverty line which leads to out-migration of at least one male from almost 80% of the households.

Recent studies by ICIMOD and others reveal that the climatic changes and variability is already impacting the water availability and increasing the incidence of pests and diseases leading to increased vulnerability of small-holder farmers. Farmers are no longer able to keep up with the rapid pace of change with their traditional adaptation practices.

The pilots are working with 508 households in 18 farmers’ groups, and 75% of the participants are women. The pilot also focuses on enhancement of women leadership through cooperative management.

The CSV pilots were developed to be:

– Nutrient Smart: Hundreds of farmers were introduced to the production and use of the biofertilizer and biopesticide (locally called jholmol), which provides effective disease and pest control and supports improved plant health.

– Water Smart: The use of plastic ponds for wastewater and rainwater collection was demonstrated, as well as building techniques. Work with Village Development Committees (VDCs) 
for the conservation of existing water resources is underway.

– Crop Smart: Different crop varieties and cropping pattern are being tested in multiple locations to assess their suitability for variable rainfall patterns and climatic conditions, as well as home gardening and integrated pest management.

– ICT Smart: An SMS notification system was created to share information with farmers on weather and market prices, as well as technical messages focusing on pest management, land preparation, irrigation, weeding, fertilizer and harvesting. Three local schools have also been equipped with meteorological stations.

– Energy Smart: In collaboration with different institutions, 24 biogas plants have been installed, with provision of the technical support for regular maintenance. The pilot also supported the creation of 12 crop residue trial plots to minimise the energy required for crop harvesting.

– Future Smart: Information and support were provided for risk mitigation through insurances, climate education for children and other measures. The children are trained in collecting and analyzing meteorological data from climate perspective.

Objectives and beneficiaries

Farmers households and communities will benefit from the practice in several ways:

- improved incomes from higher agricultural yields, and less spendings on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and petroleum gas;

- improved health due to enhanced use of biopesticide and biofertilizer;

- improved independence and well-being of women with introduction of women friendly agricultural technologies;

- improved resilience with access to climate resilient agricultural inputs and practices, insurance schemes, information on weather, markets and products, and government advisory services at district level; and

- institutional and leadership development around the issues of climate change at grassroots level, which leads to increased awareness of the community on climate and its impacts on agriculture, ensuring sustainability of the practices and better environmental management in the future.

Strong points of the practice

- The technologies used here are designed to be very simple, building on local practices, and are easily replicable and affordable. Not much external support is needed by the community once it is in place and people are aware of the technology;

- Complete ownership of the interventions by the local community and district government; - The climate-smart approach is holistic, easy to upscale and specifically caters to the challenges and needs of mountain small-holders farmers; and

- It is specifically designed to answer the challenges which are posed by changing climate at the local level.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

The project successfully demonstrated that trained local communities can apply climate-smart practices, and benefit from them.

Communities´ adaptive capacity and coping ability were enhanced with the diversification of practices and options. They responded with stronger leadership and cohesiveness during recent earthquake in Nepal.

Participants have unanimously adopted the demonstrated johlmol technology (biofertilizer and biopesticide), now producing it themselves at the household level. They thus gained independence from commercially available chemical products.

Their agricultural production increased, leading to better incomes and diets.

Information is available to them to adapt to changes in the weather, as well as changes in the markets by staying updated on available crops and techniques.

The environment benefits in following ways:

- Less pollution: less chemicals sprayed on fields and entering the ground water reserves;

- less emission of green house gases with efficient use of animal waste through integrated 'cow-shed management'

- people are producing their own biogas thereby reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. In addition to being used as cooking fuel, bio-slurry is also used as bio-fertilisers;

- Less water extraction: wastewater and rainwater are collected, and mulching practices lower the needs for watering;

- Increased soil fertility and moisture: maintained through crop rotation, mixed cropping, and nitrogen fixation by intercropping;

- Increased awareness of the community on climate change and its impacts on local agriculture and ecosystems; and

- Environmentally sustainable energy use was promoted: the energy requirements for harvesting are reduced, and gas is provided by the biogas plants.

Replicability potential of the practice

Based on the initial results of the pilots, the interventions are expanded to four more villages.

Additionally, two other projects are exploring the potential for implementation and uptake in other areas. HICAP
 will continue to engage with local governments and policy makers to scale up the CSV model.

[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.]