Impact of Instability of Food Production, Soil Degradation and Other Stressors on Food Shortage in Nepal

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Nepal is a small (147181 sq. Km) landlocked country situated between China in the north and India in the south. Nepal has got a diversified geography. Its topographical feature ranges from low land tarai (60 m) to the highest point (Mount Everest, 8848 m) in the earth. Agriculture in Nepal provides employment opportunities to 66 percent of the total population and contributes about 39 percent in the GDP ('National Strategy For The Development Of Statistics – Central Bureau Of Statistics', 2020). Therefore, the development of agriculture sector is a key for the development of national economy. Lower agricultural productivity has been a dilemma ascribed by poor human resource, small land holdings, and poor management of resources and environment. However, with the advent of newer technologies in agriculture, Nepal has also been able to increase its overall production and has been able to explore neo dimensions to ensure food security though not as anticipated.

In the sense of increasing population, evolving environment and decreasing limited natural resources, food security is a major concern of the planet (GC and Ghimire, 2019). Food losses may occur at several points along the food chain, but farm-level harvest losses are often ignored which have a direct impact on sustainability. Increasing levels of male migration and local off-farm work opportunities have expanded the local food buying power. The positive impact on food safety is demonstrated by evidence of better food adequacy, consumption efficiency, nutritional quality and food security for households with non-farm income sources. This paper focuses on the different indicators that has a potential linkage of agricultural disturbances onto the food-security cycle which could be remedied through the integrated and the holistic approach of the agricultural factors. Existing solutions to food safety and sovereignty are insufficient to fully understand conflicting developments in small-scale agriculture in Nepal, such as human development, nutrition and productivity.

Relevance to Career

With the deep interest in the agriculture sector, the livelihood and the food security in Nepal provides an overview of the technical skill building through different counterparts. Food insecurity and hunger are one of the biggest problems in safety due to climate change. It is the irrefutable effect on the poor and least developed nations of Nepal, which are living in poverty for around a quarter of the population. This is also one of the most profound reason for the employment migration despite a huge potential to secure the agriculture industry in Nepal. However, the livelihood and the food-security in Nepal helps to plan, implement and ensure the quality of the sustainable food production by managing the entire community and coordinating with the entire stakeholders and also to the greater extent, build a profound partnership with the livelihood and food security sector. Through this, it will help me being a agriculture extension worker on a managerial level that can address the field level problem.

Agricultural Production And Food Shortage

Agricultural production has become a crucial issue for progress in Asia in the enhancement of livelihoods and deterioration of the climate. Spencer (1966) suggested that agricultural development was the first process of changing agriculture and the most traditional agricultural method until the mid-20th century in South and Southeast Asia. Rasul and Thapa (2003) proposed that it should provide simple tools and techniques, low input rates and a production and consumption subsistence standard, which were impossible to satisfy growing populations and their needs for livelihood.

In developing countries with very little colonial power investing in food production processes, the food security crisis was deteriorating. Cultivators were pressing the growing population together with government control of common property wealth that limited the fallow period (Palm et al., 1996 and Gafur et al., 2000). In the meantime, shifting farmers expect change in the environment, which their cultivation activity could not accomplish from the low return. Under these conditions farms were pressured to follow a more sustainable farming system that would otherwise have exacerbated starvation and poverty in Asia. The US carried out 'crisis.' The President of the Advisory Committee on Science and delivered a 1967 paper. In addition, the report concluded that 'the size, magnitude and length of the world food issue are so large as to be solved by an unparalleled massive long-term revolutionary initiative in human history' (IFPRI 2002). Such developments, including high yields or Green Revolution, improved use of pesticides, irrigation and other chemical inputs, culminated in a phenomenal production in Asia at the end of the 1960s.

In Nepal, average lands have been down 0.17 ha, and in 2001/2002 0.96 ha have been upgraded to 0.79 ha (CBS, 2002). These developments have significantly weakened people who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods and food security (Thapa & Niroula, 2008). The condition is even worse in the mid-hills, where farmer resources are low and there are minimal possibilities for them to have other income sources from non-farming operations. Thus, the large percentage of hill farmers in Nepal opted for land intensification as an alternate way of living.

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Degradation of soils requires a decrease in soil quality attributable to anthropogenic activities. This comprises primarily of three primary processes: the physical cycle requires crusting, compaction and erosion; the chemical phase requires nitrogen degradation, leaching, acidification and salinization; and the biological process entails the removal of soil organic matter and the loss in soil biodiversity. Intensification of cultivation poses questions about land degradation, nitrogen loss, poor water quality quality and loss of fertile organic matter (Gardner and Gerrard 2003; Shrestha et al. 2004 and Wesarp et al. 2004).). Such issues are especially important in Nepal's mid-areas, where the area has been intensively developed and the majority of the community relies on land to meet their basic needs. Soil loss in the centre of the hills is a severe concern (Sitaula et al., 2000).

The cycle of agricultural destabilization provides food in greater amounts with differing degrees of diversity. This condition improves the production of produce at cheaper costs for producers and contributes to exposure to fuel. Therefore, on the positive side, agricultural intensification theoretically decreases food-borne disease, while on the other hand, production can change due to irregular climate and weather trends. The condition in mid-hills where the soil is very weak, could be even worse. Soil, soil, water sources, and even plants become polluted through numerous mechanisms through overuse of toxic fertilizers and pesticides. Clear and unintentional access to fertilizers and chemicals can result in significant public safety effects. The economic damage owing to the farmers ' ill health is troubling. Many incidents of water / vector-borne illnesses have arisen owing to drainage canals, ditches, etc. for farming (Mutero et al., 2006).

Different studies suggest that there has been reports of rising soil degradation, fertilizer depredation and soil acidification in the mid-hills. Nitrogen, phosphorous, phosphorus and other essential nutrients are inadequate for the soil (Blaikie and Sadeque, 2000). As a consequence, soil productivity in the mid-hill area is not abundant enough to satisfy the increasing population's need for expanded agricultural growth. Small families are becoming less capable of obtaining labour or investment resources to handle evolving soil conditions, and it is likely that citizens are thinking about quitting the farm to shifting to more productive areas. Farmers should be harder to cope with the displacement problem generated by unsustainable activities, in a problem whereby people from either the mid-hills mostly migrate to several other places for various economic-political purposes (Dutt, 1981).

Agricultural promotion involves the procurement, trading, stockpiling, packaging, standardization, inspection and delivery of harvest goods. The cycle of moving from producers to customers would go through a mechanism that involves adjustments in type and value. The rates are focused on the average selling amount of the following day which often entail shipping expenses, royalties, commodity efficiency which gross profitability. Rural growers are largely ignorant of business rate changes. Therefore, when selling farm products, the middleman gets benefit over the local producers. Agricultural strategy-in certain developed nations view them as pests that suck away a substantial portion of harvest sale profits (Tiwari et al., 2008). Since the growers will get chemical fertilizers on lease, they would have little influence about the usage of the fertilizers. Moreover, they really need to get capital out of their agricultural produce before making their huge larger storage potential risk. Perhaps it can be assumed that the worst factor for the economy is forcing growers to pursue increased agriculture.

Explosive growth of the agriculture industry has significant consequences for resource depletion. But other variables affect whether growers consider increased frequency to be an issue for the climate. The efficiency changes depending on which technology is implemented and also which form of cropping is implemented. Accordingly, the amount of accumulation varies depending on both the community’s preference of agricultural practices. Poudel and Thapa (2008) suggest that if the primary source of income is focused on cultivation, then due to intensification, they do not want to accept environmental destruction. People in the community whose primary source of income is not agriculture are less worried about critical issues of land management than those whose life is mainly dependent on modern agriculture.

Farming still being Nepal's key profession, the growth plans have centered on rising food production to satisfy the raising population in terms fresh produce demand. Intensification is commonly practiced by farmers in the mid-hills by extensive usage of industrial fertilizers, chemicals, installation of agro-equipment and growing harvest numbers annually. Farming increased frequency has a significant effect on the quality of life in terms of better economic circumstances, social circumstances such as food stability, work prospects and increased division of labor; and better organisation. Yet on the other hand, rapid expansion has possible adverse effects for land loss by crop deforestation, reduction of nutrients and water salinity; and environmental degradation by emissions of global greenhouse gas emissions gases. More comprehensive information on the linkages between agricultural intensification, environmental degradation and its possible routes to marginalization is built in order to provide a clearer understanding of the consequences due to agricultural intensification.

Nonetheless, raising annual earnings and utilizing domestic farmland would result in a major increase in agricultural productivity and rising food poverty in households. Approaches that improve family earnings and growing crops activity require further focus in rising food poverty in the households. Food shortage issue can be solved as households should engage in farming activities to complement the food basket of their family. Yet that will only occur if it is feasible to take the cooperative farmers as a tool to address the problem of food shortage among rural citizens of Nepal.


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Impact of Instability of Food Production, Soil Degradation and Other Stressors on Food Shortage in Nepal. (2023, February 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
“Impact of Instability of Food Production, Soil Degradation and Other Stressors on Food Shortage in Nepal.” Edubirdie, 01 Feb. 2023,
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