The area of study is located in Harpan river sub watershed of the Harpan River. This sub watershed is situated between 850 m.a.s.l (meters above sea level) in the east and 2470 m.a.s.l. in the south west. The steepest parts of the sub watershed are covered with forest, home to many native species of plants (e.g. more than 100 types of orchids).

location Nepal

Location of the studied subwatershed

The gentle slopes and the lowlands are covered with cropping fields. Rice is the main staple crop followed by maize, millet and wheat. A few vegetable farms and agroforestry are present, showing promising results of diversification of agriculture. The main occupation is subsistence agriculture, however nowadays, due to low income generated from agriculture, young people aim for a better life, and jobs with higher cash returns. However, the Nepali economy is not able to absorb the young labour force. As a consequence a large number of men (and some women) choose to leave the country to work abroad. The destinations are multiple: the first is still India, although decreasing, followed by Gulf countries (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, etc.), Malaysia and other countries in Asia. A few Nepali are moving to Western Countries.


View of the terraced fields from Harpan village. The brown fields are ready for maize plantation (March 2013)



Vegetable farming, Ghatichina

Traditionally, household division of labour was the following: men take care of the field work and women of the livestock, family and house. Nowadays the men are largely missing and the women have to take over heavy and tiring field work. Usually, men send monthly remittances to help their family. Remittances are used for different purposes, with education, the purchase of household items and goods are among the most important and agriculture less important. Therefore a consequence of migration is land abandonment, as half of the families left behind are not able to manage their entire land or because there are no longer living on their land. Land abandonment has become so important over the last years that the consequences of this land use change are raising concerns.


Focus group discussion with the women of the Ghatichina village


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