Tuesday, 5 May 2015

ACIAR's thoughts are with Nepal

After the devastating earthquake and after-shocks that hit Nepal on 25 April, ACIAR’s thoughts are with the Nepalese people.

Dr John Dixon from ACIAR recently spoke to ABC Rural about the anticipated impacts the earthquake will have on agricultural communities which employ up to 70% of the country’s population and accounts for 38% of GDP.

Hillside farms in Nepal are expected to have sustained extensive damage from the earthquake. Source: Conor Ashleigh & ACIAR

Dr Dixon highlights “Nepal has three sets of agricultural systems, but the most heavily and severely affected will be the hill farming systems where most of the population lives," he said.

"It runs across the hilly mountainous areas from east to western Nepal, where they grow rice in the bottom of the valleys, and on the sides of the slopes where they typically grow corn, millet, forages for livestock, potatoes and legumes."

Farms in mountainous areas from eastern to western Nepal could be damaged. Source: Conor Ashleigh and ACIAR

Dr Dixon said up to 11 million people who live in these mountainous parts of Nepal were dependent on small farms of between one and two hectares to grow their own food and generate income.

ACIAR has projects in Nepal including Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agroforestry and community forestry in Nepal; Sustainable and resilient farming systems intensification in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (SRFSI); and Improving dry season agriculture for marginal and tenant farmers in the Eastern Gangetic Plains and we are deeply concerned for project partners, families and communities.

Communications with Nepal have been severely affected and only limited information is coming through. Initial updates have indicated the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) staff are safe and SRFSI partners are physically fine. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected through this terrible event.

By Elise Crabb, Communications, ACIAR

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