Farm Management Strategies To Enhance Farm Performance In Mid-hills Of Nepal In The Context Of Climate Change  

Abstract Category: Science
Course / Degree: Masters' Degree
Institution / University: Wageningen University and Research Center, Netherlands
Published in: 2011

Thesis Abstract / Summary:

A multi-level study was carried out to identify and explore resource endowment, ecological and economic performance of different mixed farming systems in Baglung, a mid-hill district in Nepal. In terms of ecological performance, this study focused on farm input resources, Soil Organic Matter-Carbon and Nitrogen dynamics based on the DEED (Describe, Explain, Explore and Design) framework. The corresponding farm survey was conducted by interviewing 62 farmers in two communities: Amarbhumi and Tityang, which was followed by soil analysis of sampled households. Sixteen FYM samples were also analyzed in the lab. Farms in each community were grouped in two types: improved and traditional as related to use of sustainable soil management (SSM) practices with special reference to manure management. One representative farm from each group was selected based on total land area, area under major crops and their productivity, use of internal and external resources, and available farm feed sources per year. Both principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (group average sorting method) was carried out to verify whether preliminary selected farm were representative of the corresponding groups. The selected farms were then used for further study using the Farm DESIGN model. It was found that farming was the major source of livelihood for the people participating in the farm survey. In the case study region livestock and free access to external resources/ common natural resources (CNRs) were central components of the local farming system. It was observed that animal density was high in both communities and that improved farms had greater number of large animals while small farms kept a higher number of small animals. It was also observed that 47.9% and 43.1% DM intake for livestock was derived from CNRs in Amarbhumi and Tityang community, respectively. The contribution of CNRs was observed to be very high at  both study sites (45%). In the Amarbhumi community FYM/compost applications were highest with improved farms applying more FYM/compost (44 Mt) than traditional farms (32 Mt) compared to the Tityang community (21 Mt), where there was no difference in application rate between farm groups.

The soil analysis results showed that at Amarbhumi, improved farms had on average 5.3% SOC, which was significantly higher than the 4.8% observed for the traditional farms while the corresponding values in Tityang were 2.8 and 2.3%, respectively.  Based on these results, increases in SOC content as related to technical interventions pertaining to improved manure management amounted to 11 and 22.4% in Amarbhumi and Tityang, respectively. The results also showed that soil N% in improved farms in both communities were significantly higher; 0.46 and 0.25% than the corresponding values of traditional farms which were 0.41 and 0.20%, respectively.

At the farm level, this study showed that farmers pursuing SSM were using input resources more efficiently than traditional farms in both communities. It was observed that improved farms at Amarbhumi and Tityang had higher N-efficiency and calculated values were 40.3% and 53.6%, respectively while corresponding values for traditional farms were 37.9% and 36.3%, respectively. The overall N-efficiency of animals was below 30% in all four farms. Total N-loss was highest (168 kg N/ha) for the improved farm at Amarbhumi whereas the lowest loss was found at the improved farm at Tityang (55 kg N/ha). Based on the observed value of farm input resources, annual increases in SOM would be on the order of 0.088 and 0.041% for improved vs traditional farms at Amarbhumi, respectively.  The corresponding values at Tityang farms would be on the order of 0.048% and 0.054%, respectively. Good economic performance was observed in improved farms, but further studies are needed to evaluate the economic performance of different farms as well.

The current study concludes that the ecological and economic challenges faced by different farms may be addressed by imparting efficient farm and appropriate manure management practices. Such measures are necessary to ensure improved performance and increased resilience of mixed farms in face of a changing climate and/or more extreme weather conditions. Model-based explorations warrant better attunement of generic farm practices to specific farm settings while enhanced dissemination of improved farm management practices is crucial to support higher ecological performance at the community level rather than just to give priorities on higher production of existing annual crops. This study provides evidence that there is not only a wide scope for but also direct benefits associated with the use of improved SSM practices in terms of adaptation and mitigation of climate change and improved economic performance of farms in the mid hills of Nepal.

Thesis Keywords/Search Tags:
farm management, traditional farm, improved farm, resources, carbon nitrogen dynamics, dry matter

This Thesis Abstract may be cited as follows:
Bastakoti, N. (2011) Farm management strategies to enhance farm performance in Mid-hills of Nepal in the context of climate change. Wageningen University, The Netherlands. (MSc Thesis).



Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Nagendra Bastakoti from Nepal on 16-Jun-2011 23:20.
Abstract has been viewed 3728 times (since 7 Mar 2010).

Nagendra Bastakoti Contact Details: Email: nagendra-bastakoti@yahoo.com

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