Trees for fodder and fuel in Nepal

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Agroforestry on rice bunds, farm boundaries and marginal lands in low-altitude areas of Nepal.
Validated RNRRS Output. Home List by Audience List by Topic

In Nepal, farmers are planting trees wherever there’s space. More trees mean more animal food and more fuel – both in desperately short supply. Farmers know the advantages of planting trees: less animal feed and firewood needs to be gathered from forests, animal dung can be used as fertiliser rather than for fuel, and trees can be grown on land that’s not much use for anything else. In Nepal, farmers now plant trees on banks between rice paddies, on farm boundaries and on poor land. Tree foliage often has much-needed protein – improving milk and meat production. And it’s much better than straw, the main food for livestock in the dry season. Plus, many of the trees are leguminous and fix nitrogen in the soil, improving fertility.

Project Ref: PSP37:
Topic: 1. Improving Farmers Livelihoods: Better Crops, Systems & Pest Management
Lead Organisation: CAZS-NR, UK 
Source: Plant Sciences Programme

Contents: Description
Validation
Current Situation
Lessons Learned
Impacts On Poverty
Environmental Impact
Annex

Description

Research Programmes:

Plant Sciences Research Programme (PSP)

Relevant Research Projects:R6748, R7542, R7122, R8071, R8221

Enhancing the production of fodder and fuelwood with introduced and indigenous trees and shrubs: Melia spp., Ficus spp., Artocarpus lakoocha, Bauhinia longifolia/purpurea and Flemingia spp.for fodder and fuelwood.

UK
  • School of the Environment and Natural Resources and CAZS Natural Resources, University of Wales, Bangor, UK
Nepal
  • Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD), Pokhara
  • District Agriculture and Development Offices (DADO) Chitwan
  • District Livestock Service Office (DLSO), Chitwan
  • Forum for Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform for Development (FORWARD), Chitwan
  • Tribhuvan University, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Rampur, Chitwan

Research Outputs, Problems and Solutions:

Using participatory approaches, we explored the potential of agroforestry tree species to increase fodder and fuelwood production by utilizing the bunds of rice fields, farm boundaries, and marginal land. Intensification of agroforestry (through planting more trees on farm) will increase fodder production on farm thereby contributing to improved livestock productivity. Since the availability of fuelwood would be improved, this will also reduce pressure on natural forest for fodder and fuelwood and help maintain a better ecological balance; increase productivity by reducing the amount of dung burnt as fuel; and help rehabilitate wasteland.

The agroforestry research began in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts of Nepal in 1997 with the introduction of FicusMeliaArtocarpus and Bauhinia spp. These are multipurpose tree speciesand their utilities are summarised in Table 1. In recent times, private plantations of Melia are becoming more common in the teraiand low hills <1000 m. Similarly, cultivation of fodder trees is also increasing to fulfil fodder and fuelwood requirements (Singh, 2000).

Subsequently, Flemingia macrophylla, a perennial leguminous shrub fodder species was introduced. Because of its’ short gestation and smaller canopy this became a fodder species of choice over fodder trees of long gestation. It is high in protein and calcium (Dozowelaa, 1995) and is suitable for hedgerows, planting on rice bunds, marginal areas and farm boundaries. N fixation of Flemingia was reported to be 144 kg ha-1 year-1 (Muhr, 1999). It is drought tolerant but can survive short periods of water logging (Pandey, 1997). It is an effective protein supplement for goats (also Mui et al., 2001) and an effective dry season browse (also Skerman, 1977).

Table 1. Use and value  of promising introduced and indigenous fodder species tested in participatory research in Chitwan, 1997 to 2006

English / Nepali  Name§ Latin name Main use Other uses Time to first harvest for fodder (years) Time to first harvest for fuelwood (timber) (years) Quality of fodder Quality of fuelwood Suitable for feeding
Flemingia /
Bhatamase
Flemingia macrophylla

F. congesta

Fodder Twigs can be used as fuelwood 1 na Good Low calorific value Most preferred by goat, cattle, buffalo
China berry / 
Bakaino
Melia azedarach M. composita Fuelwood Timber Fodder,

Green manure

2 3

(6-7)

Average Good Goat, cattle, buffalo
Rai khanayo Ficus cunia

F. semicordata

Fodder Fuelwood 2-3 na Good to very good Good Cattle, buffalo, goats
Nebharo Ficus roxburghii Fodder Fuelwood,

Fruit

2-3 na Excellent Average Cattle, buffalo, goats
Badhar Ficus glaberrima Fodder Fuelwood, Timber,

Fruit

2-3 3

(6-7)

Excellent Very good Cattle, buffalo, goats
Tanki Artocarpus lakoocha Fodder Fuelwood,

Vegetable

2-3 3

(6-7)

Excellent Very good Cattle, buffalo, goats
Pakhuri Bauhinia longifolia

B. purpurea

Fodder Fuelwood,

Timber

2-3 3

(6-7)

Good Very

Good

Cattle, buffalo, goats

Problem addressed and description of outputs: Livestock plays an important role in Nepalese agricultural systems contributing 32% to the agricultural GDP (MoAC, 1999/2000). There is an annual deficit of 34% dry matter to feed the growing animal population in Nepal (TLDP, 2002). Livestock production is limited due to poor focus on the promotion of suitable indigenous and improved fodder species (Joshi, 1991 and Pandey, 1997) and the development potential of livestock is yet to be properly exploited.

A baseline study conducted in Chitwan and Nawalparasi showed that there is an acute shortage of fodder and forages (Rana et al, 2004). Low quality cereal straw makes up the majority of the animal feed and the overall productivity of animals is sub-optimal.

Fuelwood is the major source of cooking energy.  Farmers depend upon their fodder residues, trimmed branches, twigs and fruits of fodder and timber trees around the farm boundary and also twigs of fallen or dead trees collected from the government forest. Most farmers suffer from a shortage of fuel sources (acute in some cases) for cooking. The situation for fodder and fuelwood is similar because farmers have mostly multi-purpose trees.  Therefore, it is a matter of having trees or not having them on the farm that determines a household’s standing for fodder and fuelwood (Rana et al, 2004).


Types of Research Output:

Product Technology Service Process or Methodology Policy Other
x x x x


Major Commodities Involved:

Indigenous and introduced fodder species that are important from the point of view of supplying fodder and fuelwood are the main commodities upon which this output is being focussed. These are:

  1. Flemingia macrophylla and F. congesta
  2. Melia azedarach and M. composita
  3. Ficus cunia
  4. Ficus roxburghii
  5. Ficus glaberrima

However, they fit in the main rice-based farming systems of the Nepal terai as well in the upland maize or millet-based farming systems prevalent in upland conditions in the hills.


Production Systems:

Semi-Arid High potential Hillsides Forest-Agriculture Peri-urban Land water Tropical moist forest Cross-cutting
x x x x


Farming Systems: 

Smallholder rainfed humid Irrigated Wetland rice based Smallholder rainfed highland Smallholder rainfed dry/cold Dualistic Coastal artisanal fishing
x x x x x


Potential for Added Value:

This approach has manifold benefits to farming systems as a whole. The introduction and promotion of fodder and fuelwood species is important for livestock and dairy enterprises; soil and environmental conservation; human and animal health; increased crop productivity through leguminous fodder species nitrogen fixation; and increased availability of animal manure for crop production.

This output can be combined with outputs from the livestock production programme, for example:

  • Cultivation of African Dhaincha and fodder kesari as animal feed in rice fields (R6610),
  • Indigenous and biological knowledge integration for improving dry season feeding strategies in hill farms in Nepal (R7637),
  • Adoption of planted forages for smallholder dairying in Kenya (R6153, R5732), soil and water conservation (R6621),
  • Alternative strategies for small livestock keepers in forest margins (R6774),
  • Environmental variability and productivity of semi-arid grazing systems (R6984, R8476).

Similarly it can be combined with some of the outputs from the crop protection programme such as the promotion of crop residues for fodder (R8339, R7346, R8296).

This also has implications for growing crops following rice in the rainfed rabi cropping technologies (PSP35) where soil fertility has been found to be a major limiting factor.

Validation

How the outputs were validated:

How and who validated: An evaluation of all fodder and fuel wood crops was conducted across all wealth categories of farmers (Fig. 1) with varying sizes of land holding (Annex 1) (Rana et al, 2004). Validation was done using a similar approach as the participatory variety selection (PVS) used for rice and other crops which was considered effective for the selection and promotion of agro-forestry species (Biggs, 1989).

Fig. 1. Households by wealth category in different clusters. The number of respondent was 508 in Eastern Chitwan Cluster (ECC), 489 in Western Chitwan (WCC) and 490 in Nawalparasi cluster (NPC)

Several indigenous fodder species e.g. Ficus cunia, Ficus  semicordata, Ficus roxburghii,  Ficus glaberrima, Bauhinia longifolia, Artocarpus lakoocha, Melia azedarach and Melia composita were validated by planting on terrace risers, farm boundaries, field margins and on the rice bunds using farmers’ customary agronomic management and growing conditions in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts from 1999-2003. Subsequently Flemingia was also validated since 1999 using the same approach and the network. Best accessions of Melia (out of 45 accessions from Terai and mid hills) and other fodder and fuel wood species were scaled up by producing large numbers of seedlings (Appendix 2) through 16 farmers’ groups (Table 2) and other networks.

In this process, in addition to the farmers’ groups (Table 2) District Livestock Services Office (DLSO) in Chitwan were actively involved. Subsequently these outputs were also validated by the rice-fallow rabi cropping (RRC) project in parts of Jhapa, Sirha, Saptari and Kapilvastu (Fig. 2). These species also provide fuel wood and form an integral part of the farming systems in the hills (Pandey, 1997, Kshatri, 2000) and are gradually being integrated across diverse environments of terai farming systems. These outputs were also validated by various GOs, NGOs and special projects in the past (Tables 3 and Appendix 3).

Table 2. Validation of agroforestry outputs by various groups in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts of Nepal

Name of the group that validated agroforestry outputs Type of the group with main purpose District
Drinking water users committee, Nayabelhani Drinking water Nawalparasi
Farmer group, Chormara Agriculture development, multipurpose Nawalparasi
Farmer group, Abhiwan Agriculture development, multipurpose Nawalparasi
Narayani Mahila Milan Center, Amaltari Agriculture development, multipurpose Nawalparasi
Swabalamban Bikas Kendra, Bishaltar Agriculture, rural development, multipurpose Nawalparasi
Panchakanya dairy, Ratnanagar Dairy Chitwan
Jayamangala Dudh Utpadan Samuha, Ratnanagar Dairy Chitwan
Jayalaxmi dairy, Ratnanagar Dairy Chitwan
Shree Indrayani Gai Bikash Samuha, Indrapuri, Gitanagar Dairy Chitwan
Jan Pragati Krishi Tatha Pasupalan Samuha, Gitanagar Dairy Chitwan
Dairy group, Pithuwa, Ratnanagar Dairy Chitwan
Biswo Jyoti farmer group, Radhapur Agriculture development, multipurpose Chitwan
Farmer group, Parbatipur Agriculture development, multipurpose Chitwan
Farmer group, Birendranagar Agriculture development, multipurpose Chitwan
Mahila Samuha, Chainpur Agriculture development, multipurpose Chitwan
Indrapuri Secondary School, Gitanagar School Chitwan

Fig. 2. Districts where indigenous and introduced promising agroforestry species are being validated and promoted in Nepal by I/NGOs

The effects of planting density on the biomass production and its chemical constituents, its palatability to different animals, effects of cutting height and cutting frequency on biomass production were validated by Professionals from IAAS, Tribhuvan University, Rampur and LI-BIRD using two years on-farm trial data at Krishnapur and on-station trial at IAAS, Rampur. From the same trial, two students from IAAS have completed their Masters theses on Flemingia.

Farmers’ perceptions on the type of land for optimum performance, palatability to different animals and fodder yield were recorded and their perceptions of fodder and fuel wood species becoming integrated into Nepalese farming systems were also collected. Participatory tools such as transact walks, direct observations and household level questionnaires (HLQs) were used for these surveys.

Where the Outputs were Validated:

Hundreds of farmers validated the performance of indigenous and introduced fodder and fuelwood species across diverse farming systems in wider areas of Nepal through a number of projects, non-government and government organizations (Table 2, Appendix 3).

Current Situation

Who are the Users?

Those indigenous and introduced fodder and fuel wood species have been used by thousands of farmers for a variety of reasons in addition to fodder and fuel wood in diverse ecological and environmental conditions (Table 3).

Table 3. Some introduced and indigenous fodder tree species with their range of adaptability and pertinent uses in different physiographic regions of Nepal

Scientific name Family Suitable ecological belt and altitude (m) Pertinent use
Flemingia macrophylla Roxb and Flemingia congesta Leguminacea Terai and hills up to 1200 Fodder and fuel wood
Melia azedarach and Melia composita Meliaceae Terai and lower hills up to 1000 Fodder, fuel wood,

timber and oil from seeds

Ficus cunia and Ficus semicordata Moraceae Terai and hills up to 1500 Fodder, fuel wood, fruit
Ficus roxburghii Moraceae Terai and hills up to 1500 Fodder, fuel wood, leaves are used for making plates
Ficus glaberrima Moraceae Terai and  higher hills up to 2000 Fodder and shade
Artocarpus lakoocha Moraceae Terai and hills up to 1500 Fodder, timber and edible fruit
Bauhinia longifolia / purpurea Fabaceae Terai and hills up to 1500 Fodder, fuel wood and tool handle

The user’s of these outputs are primarily farmers of all the wellbeing category living in rainfed dry and semi-arid environments as well as those living in the HPPSs (Table 2). Recently number academic studies (Masters and PHD) are in progress to look at nutritional status, palatability and acceptability of various fodder species by farm animals.

Where the outputs have been used:

The outputs are currently being used by thousands of farmers from diverse environmental and geographical areas (Table 4). Users include the socially excluded, marginalised and disadvantaged rural farmers.

Table 4. Districts and watershed regions in Nepal where those outputs are currently using

Fodder species Growing districts Growing places
Flemingia macrophylla
and
Flemingia congesta
Some villages of  Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts Bunds in rice field, field boundary, marginal areas, hedgerows, fences
Melia azedarach and
Melia composita,
Ficus cunia,
Ficus semicordata,
Ficus roxburghii,
Ficus glaberrima,
Artocarpus lakoocha,
Bauhinia longifolia / purpurea etc.
Gorkha, Lamjung, Syangja,  Shivapuri Watershed areas, Tinau Watershed areas, Dang, Salyan, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Rukum, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Palpa, Ramechhap, Dhadhing, Tanahun, Chitwan, Dolkha, Sindhuli, Makawanpur, Kavre, Taplejung, Sankhuwasva, Sindhupalchok, Manang, Mustang, Humla, Dolpa, Mugu and some other districts from mid and far western development region Rice bunds are mostly used in agroforestry system with several cereal and legume crops, marginal areas, boundary of field and terrace risers in hilly regions, soil erosion prone areas, pastures and grazing lands in silvopastoral system, plantation in watershed areas, wasteland and denuded forest areas etc.

Scale of Current Use:

LI-BIRD produced more than 12 thousand saplings of different indigenous and introduced agroforestry species and distributed them throughout Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts from1999 to 2003 through several groups (Annex 2 and 3, Table 2).

Traditionally, hill and mountain farming systems have fully integrated multipurpose tree species using field margins, terrace risers, and other waste lands. Several studies on various aspects of more than 57 fodder and forage species had already been done (Pandey, 1997). However, growing trees for livestock feed and fuel wood in the terai started after the 1980s. Since then, several efforts have been made by governmental and non-governmental organizations in the terai, hill and mountain districts (Table 4, appendix 3) to increase fodder and fuel wood production. Nearly 3 million tonnes of dry matter, 34.7% of total digestible nutrients and 54.3% green fodder are deficient in the country to support the growing animal population (TLDP, 2002)

Policy and Institutional Structures, and Key Components for Success:

There are a number of innovation platforms for the scaling up of the outputs, e.g.  DLS has its institutional network in all the 75 districts with the presence of trained staff at Service Centre level (covering a population of several thousand people). DLS have been promoting fodder and pasture development by various means such as:

  • Promotion of fodder species in Nepal through distribution of vegetative materials of perennial fodder and forage crops
  • Distribution of fodder tree seeds and saplings
  • Development of silvi-pasture, agro forestry
  • Establishment of fodder nursery, fodder seed production resource centres
  • Organizing training to the farmers, beneficiaries, technical staffs
  • Fodder and pasture seed production, registration of fodder seed producers groups and establishment of Rural Seed Bank
  • Quality control of the fodder seed produced
  • Assist and facilitation in pricing and marketing of fodder seed and saplings and joint programme implementation with other (I)NGOs, community based organizations and other private sectors etc

The Livelihood Forestry Programme (funded by DFID and that was built on an earlier DFID funded project ‘Nepal UK Community Forestry Project’ (NUKCFP)) covering over 13, 662 Community Forest Users’ Groups involving 1.551, 786 households across 7 districts in the hills of Nepal will be one of the most important innovation platforms for the scaling up of outputs from our agroforestry research.

Leasehold forestry network is also picking up in several of the hilly and some of the terai districts and they encourage planting of fodder and forage crops in such lands. Planting multipurpose trees has been the major objective in all the community forests. Most of the NGOs working in Nepal have agriculture as an integral part of their activities and planting fodder and fuel wood trees is also widely promoted by NGO networks. There is an existing policy environment for the promotion of planting trees. Thus, current government’s policy is very helpful and supportive for the dissemination and scaling up of promising indigenous and introduced fodder species.

However, fodder research and scaling up outputs in Nepal in the past have had a number of shortcomings:

  • There was a lack of participation from the communities in the research and development (R & D) as result most of the R & D failed to recognize the practical needs of the farmers. Most of the research was the duplication of the already established findings.
  • Most of the research and scaling up work lacked the framework of recommendation domains for multi-location trials and were target oriented rather than solving the real problems of farmers
  • In most of the cases available resources were concentrated on minor problems
  • Lack of clear policy and strategy on forage, fodder and fuel wood research and promotion. Almost all research and promotion work is conducted according to the researcher’s interests rather than to meeting the real need

Lessons Learned and Uptake Pathways

Promotion of Outputs:

Several governmental organizations like the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), NARC, Department of Forestry (DOF), Department of Soil Water Conservation (DSWC), Pakhribas Agricultural Centre (PAC), Lumle Agriculture Centre (LAC), IAAS and several NGOs are promoting several promising indigenous and introduced fodder species through different models based on the local need, location, altitude, climatic condition and other socio-economic parameters (Appendix 4).

A survey was conducted in October 2006 using FGD and/or HLQ to assess the adoption and preference of various fodder species distributed by LI-BIRD from 1999-2003. The summary of the findings of this study are summarized in Table 5 (also see Appendix 5).

Table 5. Overall ranking of the fodder species promoted in the project area

Species Rank Reason
Ficus cunia 1 Best preferred fodder by all animal species.  Best quality fuel wood. More than three harvests a year.
Artocarpus lakoocha 2 Best quality fodder, preferred to feed lactating cattle and buffalo. Its intake increased milk production, lactose and fat in the milk. Good firewood. Preferred by all animals.
Bauhinia longifolia/purpurea 3 Best quality fodder, preferred to feed lactating cattle and buffalo. Its intake increased milk production, lactose and fat in the milk. Good firewood. Preferred by all animals.
Ficus roxburghii 4 Good quality fodder
Melia azedarach/composita 5 Good fodder for goat, timber, good quality firewood
Ficus glaberrima 6 Good quality fodder, fuel wood, timber
Flemingia macrophylla/congesta 7 Fodder preferred mostly by goats

Potential Barriers Preventing Adoption of Outputs:

Institutional and policy issues:

  • An objective assessment and documentation of fodder and pasture research and development is lacking (Pandey, 1997) which restricts implementation by planners, policy makers, professionals and farmers attempting to facilitate livestock development in the country.
  • Limited scientific research to understand the minimum husbandry practices, e.g. planting density, frequency of cutting, nutritive value, digestibility etc.
  • Lack of understanding regarding the priority setting for fodder and fuel wood species in terms of livelihoods of poor people.

Marketing, infrastructure and social exclusion:

  • Conventional thinking: Conventionally farmers think that livestock thrive on grazing and crop by-products and no additional fodder and feed is needed.
  • Subsistence farming:  Majority of farmers depend on small land holdings for their subsistence food crops production and thus are reluctant to grow fodder crops which do not give an immediate and direct return
  • Invasion/protection of pastureland: Community pasturelands and fodder species are considered common property. There is a lack of responsibility for the protection and improvement of such lands and species. Most of the community pasturelands are over grazed and are deteriorating. In recent years stocking and utilisation of such lands are increasing especially around the vicinity of villages.
  • Poor people’s participation: there is a lack of awareness and education amongst the farmers towards pastureland management, fodder production and means to maintain productivity. Most of the programmes and activities in the past failed mainly because of a lack of inclusion of such groups in project activities.
  • Fodder species: A legume component in pasturelands, and improved perennial legume fodder species are lacking, which are important for quality feed as well as to improve soil fertility. Moreover, local species tend to be slow-maturing.

How to Overcome Barriers to Adoption of Outputs:

According to Pariyar, D., Dhaubhadel T. S., Chemjong P.B., and Upreti C.R., (eds) 1995 for wider promotion and rapid adoption of fodder and fuel wood species in Nepal the following barriers need to be changed:

  • Government should give a high priority to fodder improvement / development, either through the introduction of improved species or the promotion of promising indigenous species
  • Research on appropriate fodder, forage and fuel wood species for specific agro-ecological zones and land use systems needs to be given top priority involving all the important stakeholders.
  • In hilly areas soil acidity has reached an alarming level. There is therefore a need to introduce acid tolerant indigenous or improved fodder species for soil amelioration, both by governmental and non-governmental organizations
  • Seed shortages are a major constraint in fodder species’ development and promotion
  • An inventory of the nutritional content of different feeds and fodder should be maintained

Lessons Learned:

Using Rogers (2003) diffusion of information as a framework for the lessons learnt:

  1. The relative advantage of a technology compared to what it is replacing; This is generally high (see Table 1) and farmers generally agree on the reasons why they prefer a new species.
  2. The compatibility of the technology with existing systems and ways of doing things, which is closely related to culture; The compatibility with farmers is high as they are used to experimentation in their own fields.
  3. The complexity of the technology in terms of what people need to learn to make it work; The complexity is low for farmers and introduction of new fodder species do not require changes in management practices.
  4. The observability of a technology in terms of how easy it is to demonstrate and observe performance; The observability is high for most traits such as yield, palatability, cattle preference etc.
  5. The trialability of a technology in terms of how easy it is to test it before deciding to adopt. The trialability is high if seeds/seedlings are available with appropriate extension materials.

The most important lesson is that the process should be one of Participatory Agro-forestry Species Evaluation (PASE)

Impacts On Poverty

Poverty Impact Studies:

Devkota, K.P., Tripathi M., Chaudhary M., Gurung M., Poudel H., and Gyawali S. (2006). Final Technical Report of R8071-Participatory Plant Breeding in High Potential Production Systems-Validating PPB products, testing different breeding methods and scaling up of new rice varieties. Available at www.dfid-psp.org

Dhakal, P. (2002). An Evaluation of the Participatory Tree Selection Approach and Adoption of Agroforestry Practices within the Terai Region of Nepal, Using Participatory Methods. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Bangor.

Gyawali, S, Devkota, K.P., Tripathi M., Chaudhary M., Gurung M. and Poudel H. (2004). Final Technical Report of R7542-Participatory Crop Improvement in High Potential Production Systems of Chitwan and Nawalparasi Districts of Nepal. Submitted to DFID-PSP, CAZS-NR, UK

Gyawali S, Devkota K P, McDonald M, Joshi K D, Poudel D, Subedi A and Witcombe J R. (2006). A participatory selection of Flemingia macrophylla in on-station and on-farm experiments in Nepal. Paper Accepted in Agro forestry Systems.

Kayastha, KP. (2004). Productivity and nutritional characteristics of Flemingia macrophylla under different planting density and cutting height in Chitwan. Masters Thesis, Tribhuvan University, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur, Chitwan

Ghimire, R. 2006/2007. Response of phosphatic fertilizer on forage yield and seed production of mature stand of Flemingia macrophylla. Masters Thesis, Tribhuvan University, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur, Chitwan

How the Poor have Benefited (including gender and other poverty groups):

Fodder and firewood species are an integral part of rural livelihoods in Nepal (Figure 2). They dominate not only the landscape but also the way people live. Fuel wood provides 75% of the total energy consumed in the country and more than 40% of fodder for livestock is extracted from fodder species (MPFS 1988). Besides, they play a dynamic role in protecting the fragile mountain ecosystems and maintaining diverse and complex ecosystems of the country (Thomson 1995).

Fig. 2. Nepal’s tree-animal-crop farming system

Although specific impact assessments of interventions on fodders and fuel wood is yet to be conducted, there are several reports on the impact of agroforestry on livelihood and poverty. With the increased adoption of agroforestry in various regions of country there is a positive impact on poverty and various aspects of livelihoods like increased fodder, fuel wood and timber supply. There is an increased awareness among the farming communities on the quality of fodder etc. and ultimately an improved educational, health, income and food security situation. There is an overall positive impact on environmental conservation and reduced soil erosion.  The agroforestry approach addresses livelihood resources which comprise natural resources, human resources, social resources, financial resources and physical resources. The outcome addresses povertyindices like vulnerability, income, powerlessness, physical weakness and isolation as:

Physical assets The forest resource is improving under farmer’s cultivation and management
Vulnerability context The agro-forestry species act as a buffer for the poor people, providing both food and income sources during lean periods, seasonally and in bad years.
Transforming structures and processes The Forest Act provides an opportunity to legitimize farmers and communities use of the agro-forestry species i.e. it provides legal access.  Socially marginalized people have most to gain from this system in community decision making i.e. it offers the opportunity for influence.
Livelihood strategies Improved fodder supply increases livestock production and productivity, increased firewood supply, increased supply of fruit, bio-fencing, improved supply of medicinal herb etc.
Influence and Access Can be strengthened through an empowerment process at many levels, among many stakeholders – boosting self-confidence, competencies, leadership in the farming communities

The framework is derived basically from three important theoretical elements namely 
the concept of empowerment, capacity building and sustainable rural livelihood.

Environmental Impact

Direct and Indirect Environmental Benefits:

  • Directly, the outputs address the problems of land degradation by seeking to deliver the fodder requirement for livestock thorough increased productivity of quality fodder. Indirectly, the emphasis on increasing fodder production and stall-feeding of farm animals is environmentally beneficial.
  • Reduce the pressure on natural forests for fodder and fuel wood which positively contributes to environmental protection.
  • More cattle dung will be available for manuring as a result of the increased availability of fuel wood.
  • Use of a greater number of species (particularly encouraging the planting of indigenous species) and the intensification of land cover reduces soil erosion and land slides. This further contributes to biodiversity enhancement by relieving pressure on adjacent forest and conservation areas (native species biodiversity).
  • Species diversification will help reduce crop loss due to pests and diseases and thereby reduce the use of pesticides. Introduction of new species always increased on-farm diversity as farmers adopt different species for different niches.
  • The better disease and pest resistance of new species can reduce the use of water and soil polluting agro-chemicals. Reduced use of pesticides and insecticides will also reduce the risk to human life will help maintain a balanced pest-predator cycle.
  • Leguminous species like Flemingia have better nitrogen use efficiency and nitrogen fixing capacity, thereby reducing the need for chemical fertilisers which are an important pollutant and their synthetic production is a significant contributor to global warming (Gibbon, 2005).
  • Increased fodder supply will increase livestock production and result in an increased supply of meat, milk etc. and have a direct impact on human health.

Adverse Environmental Impacts:

Any adverse environmental impact is unlikely in the present case as the promising indigenous and improved local are scale neutral and do not require any special cultural, management and production inputs.

Coping with the Effects of Climate Change, or Risk from Natural Disasters:

The outputs are directly related to the management of soil and water, which are some of the first few factors affecting crop production immediately in the event of climate changes and natural disasters. Better management of soil and water minimising soil and nutrient losses and increasing soil fertility increases resilience of soil against adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters like flood and landslides. Increased farmer’s knowledge and promotion of adoption of agroforestry species greatly increases the capacity of poor farmers to cope with the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

Increased species diversification is a means of coping with climate change. For example, promotion of drought tolerant agro-forestry species like Flemingia reduces the risks from drought. Similarly, insect and disease tolerant species reduce the risk against disease and pest epidemics and also reduces the risk of adverse weather (high winds, hail, and floods) thus increasing the resilience of farmers to cope with variation.

Annex

References

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Annex 1. Land holding information by wealth categories within clusters in Chitwan and Nawalparasi.

Variables Khet Bari p-value for Khet only
ECC
        Rich 1.19 ± 0.06 (125) 0.24 ± 0.04 (46) 0.000
        Medium 0.54 ± 0.03 (155) 0.09 ± 0.02 (43)
        Poor 0.029 ± 0.02 (169) 0.05 ± 0.01 (56)
WCC
        Rich 2.10±0.16 (99) 0.44±0.12 (12) 0.000
        Medium 0.80±0.03 (187) 0.50±0.14 (11)
        Poor 0.41±0.02 (171) 0.16±0.05 (13)
NPC
        Rich 0.96±0.0.08 (116) 0.29±0.05 (40) 0.000
        Medium 0.54±0.03 (154) 0.19±0.02 (55)
        Poor 0.30±0.02 (154) 0.13±0.01 (64)

Annex 2.  Different indigenous and introduced agro forestry species distributed through various dairy groups, other farmers groups and individual farmers in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts during 1999 to 2003

Year Species No. of farmers Total participants Number of seedlings Total no. of seedlings
Trial IRD Trial IRD
1999 Melia azedarach 84 84 1563 1563
Ficus cunia 46 46 95 95
Bauhinia longifolia 87 87 677 677
Leucaena leucocephala 14 14 46 46
Artocarpus lakoocha 2 2 3 3
Total 233 233 2384 2384
2000 Melia azedarach 14 23 37 700 250 950
Ficus roxburghii 13 13 25 25
Artocarpus lakoocha 10 10 20 20
Ficus cunia 15 15 29 29
Flemingia macrophylla 16 16 320 320
Total 30 61 91 1020 324 1344
2001 Melia azedarach 50 3 53 491 12 503
Ficus cunia 177 177 272 272
Artocarpus lakoocha 101 101 154 154
Ficus roxburghii 72 72 78 78
Ficus glaberrima 117 117 146 146
Bauhinia longifolia 143 143 296 296
Tejpatta 18 18 18 18
Gogon 16 16 16 16
Flemingia 58 33 91 580 95 675
Total 108 680 788 1071 1087 2185
2003 Ficus cunia 2250 2250
Ficus roxburghii 1775 1775
Flemingia 2350 2350
Mendola 575 575
Total 6950 6950
Grand total 371 741 1112 4475 8361 12863

Appendix 3. Where (region and farming system) and when the outputs were validated and with whom

Fodder species Who and where When Farmers System
Flemingia macrophylla

and Flemingia congesta

Several village development committees (VDCs) of Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts 1999-2003 Hundreds of Low, medium and high resource farmers High potential, rainfed and irrigated rice bunds
Melia azedarach and Melia composita,

Ficus cunia and Ficus semicordata,

Ficus roxburghii,

Ficus glaberrima,

Artocarpus lakoocha,

Bauhinia longifolia etc.

Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahun, Syangja, Palpa etc, by Resource Conservation and Utilization Project (RCUP) 1980 Low resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Shivapuri Watershed areas by Shivapuri Watershed Management and Fuel wood Plantation Project 1985-1990 Low resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Tinau Watershed areas by Tinau Watershed Project 1981-1990 Low resource farmers Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Dang, Salyan, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Rukum by  Rapti Development Project 1987-1995 Low, medium and high resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Rasuwa and Nuwakot by Rasuwa-Nuwakot Rural Development Project 1986-1990 Low, medium and high resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Palpa by HELVETAS/GTZ 1989-1994 Low resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
ICIMOD is testing and validating in several mid and hill districts Continuing since several years Low, medium and high resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Sindhupalchok, Ramechhap, Dhadhing, Tanahun, Chitwan, Dolkha, Sindhuli, Makawanpur, Kavre by Hills Leasehold Forestry and Forage Development Project (HLFFDP) 1993- Low, medium and high resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
High altitude Himalayan districts Taplejung, Sankhuwasva, Dolkha, Sindhupalchok, Gorkha, Manang, Mustang, Humla, Dolpa and Mugu through Northern Belt Pasture Development Program (NBPDP) 1980-1990 Low resource farmers Thousands Semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Mid and far western development region through Third Livestock Development Project (TLDP) 1996 to date Low, medium and high resource farmers Thousands High potential, semi arid, hillside, smallholder rainfed dry/cold
Kapilvastu, Sirha, Saptari, Jhapa 2002-2005 RRC project implemented by FORWARD and CAZS NR Rainfed dry, semi-arid

Hundreds of farmers

Appendix 4. Various models for the scaling up of fodder and fuel wood species in Nepal

Where is promotion taking place Who is promoting Scale of promotion
Traditional Model (Model-1): Fodder trees plantation in the terrace and risers, a common traditional practice in the rural areas. Depending upon the altitude, adaptability and palatability fodder saplings are being selected and transplanted. Basically, top stratum constitutes fodder trees, the second strata with bushes and the ground is covered with grasses and legumes. Through this process and in those areas Ficus cunia, Ficus semicordata, Ficus roxburghii, Ficus glaberrima,  Artocarpus lakoocha, Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea  etc are promoting. Over 75 different fodder tree species are available at domestication in Nepal. Elevationdetermines the type of plants. Very high
Model -2: Slope Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) which is basically a contour hedgerow inter-cropping. Through this process Flemingia macrophylla Roxb, Flemingia congesta, Melia azedarach, Melia composita etc are promoting. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has established a number of demonstration plots in mid hills of Nepal. Medium
Model -3: Fodder, monoculture and combination of legume and grasses (Oat+Vetch or Oat and cowpea). Through this process and in those areas Flemingia macrophylla Roxb and  Flemingia congesta etc are promoting. About a decade old practice in farmer’s field. It is getting popular in Nepal. Several INGOs and government organizations are focussing in this method. High
Model – 4: Modified use of bonds, terrace risers for forage production in the mid hills. Alternative rows of legumes and grasses which include Flemingia macrophylla Roxb, Flemingia congesta,  Ficus cunia,  Ficus semicordata, Ficus roxburghii, Ficus glaberrima,  Artocarpus lakoocha, Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea, Melia azedarach, Melia composita etc. Thus in such areas those fodder species are promoting. Newly advanced model being tested by the Hills Leasehold Forestry and Forage Development Project. Several other Several INGOs and government organizations are focussing in this method. Very high
Model-5: Use of un-reclaimed and fallow land for grass and legume forage production. For example, forage legume and grasses under mango orchard. Through this process and in those areas Flemingia macrophylla Roxb, Flemingia congestaetc are promoting. Helen Keller International working in Siraha district of Nepal and several INGOs are focussing in this method. Medium to low
Model -6: Use of roadsides and land under electric high-tension line by plantation of appropriate fodder shrubs and grass and legumes. In those areas Ficus cunia,  Ficus semicordata, Ficus roxburghii, Ficus glaberrima,  Artocarpus lakoocha, Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea, Melia azedarach, Melia composita etc are promoting. Under testing by the Department of Livestock Services and other INGOs are also testing and promoting through this method. High
Model – 7: Selection of naturally established grasses and legumes, weeding of obnoxious plants and makes the high altitude pasturelands accessible. Through this process and in those areas Ficus cunia, Ficus semicordata, Ficus roxburghii, Ficus glaberrima, Artocarpus lakoocha, Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea etc are promoting. Northern Belt Pasture Development Project and other INGOs are promoting through this method. Medium to low

Appendix 5. Farmer’s adoption and preference of those fodder species in 2006 in various villages of Chitwan and Nawalparasi

Farmers group Survey method Species preferred by farmers
A. Nawalparasi
1. Drinking Water Users Committee, Nayabelhani FGD Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Almost all households have been growing at least one tree of each fodder species distributed. Flemingia is not spreading because cattle and buffalo did not prefer its fodder.
2. Narayani Mahila Milan Center, Amaltari HLQ Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Almost all households have at least one tree of each fodder species received.  There is heavy demand of sapling of all species except Flemingia in this village.
3. Swabalamban Bikas Kendra, Bishaltar FGD Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Almost all households have at least one tree of each fodder species received.  Flemingia is not much spreading because cattle and buffalo did not prefer its fodder and there is heavy rat infestation in the Flemingia field.
B. Chitwan
I. Dairy groups
1. Panchakanya Dairy, Ratnanagar FGD Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Almost all households have at least one tree of each fodder species received.  There is heavy demand of sapling of all species.  Flemingia is not much spreading because there is heavy rat infestation in the Flemingia field. Some of the saplings of Ficus cunia, Artocarpus lakoocha and Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea are spreading outside villages as well.
2. Jayamangala Dudh Utpadan Samuha, Ratnanagar FGD Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Almost all households have at least one tree of each fodder species received.  Demand of Ficus cunia is very high.
3. Jayalaxmi Dairy, Pithuwa 3, Ratnanagar FGD Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Almost all households have at least one tree of each fodder species received. Some of the saplings of Ficus cunia, Artocarpus lakoocha and Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea are spreading outside villages as well.
II. Other farmers groups
1. Biswo Jyoti Farmer Group, Radhapur FGD /HLQ Most of the distributed species are preferred and scaled up by the farmers. Ficus cunia, Artocarpus lakoocha and Bauhinia longifolia/ purpurea are mostly preferred for lactating cattle and buffalo and upon their feeding milk production, lactose and fat increased. Among them Ficus cunia is the most preferred.  Flemingia is also spreading a bit around the bunds of cannel and marginal land.
III. School
1. Indrapuri Secondary School, Gitanagar Personal inquiry with a teacher Now all the plantation of Melia in this school in good condition and are now using for fodder for goat and fuel wood by the neighbouring communities
2. Individual farmers, Gitanagar HLQ Flemingia is preferred mostly by the goat rearing farmers. Cultivating in dry and marginal land.

Relevant Research Projects, with links to the
Research for Development (R4D) web site
and Technical Reports:

R4D Project Title Technical Report
R5732 Kenya/Malawi: Development and on-farm evaluation of agroforestry livestock feeding systems. Main Report. Summary.
R6153 Adoption of planted forages for smallholder dairying in Kenya
R6610 Introduction of fodder legumes into rice-based cropping systems and their use as supplements in straw-based rations for dairy cattle in Bangladesh
R6621 Strategies for improved soil and water conservation practices in hillside production systems in the Andean valleys of Bolivia.
  • Las Leguminosas como coberturas y abonos verdes. Proyecto Laderas
R6748 Participatory Crop Improvement in High Potential Production Systems in India and Nepal
R6774 Strategies for integrating and optimising livestock production in forest margin farming systems. Main Report. Summary.
R6984 Environmental variability and productivity of semi-arid grazing systems.
R7122 Participatory Plant Breeding in Rice for High Potential Production Systems in the Terai and low hills of Nepal
R7346 Evaluation of the effects of plant diseases on the yield and nutritive value of crop residues used for peri-urban dairy production on the Deccan Plateau in India
R7542 Participatory crop improvement in high potential production systems – piloting sustainable adoption of new technologies
R7637 Integrating indigenous and biological knowledge to implement improved dry season feeding strategies on farms in the hills of Nepal.
R8071 Participatory plant breeding in high potential production systems – an evaluation of products and methods
R8221 Promotion of rainfed rabi cropping in rice fallows of eastern India and Nepal: Phase 2
R8296 Promotion of sustainable approaches for the management of root-knot nematodes on vegetables in Kenya. Main Report.
Annex 1, Annex 2, Annex 4, Annex 5, Annex 6, Annex 7a, Annex 7c.
R8339 Evaluation of the effects of plant diseases on the yield and nutritive value of crop residues used for peri-urban dairy production on the Deccan Plateau in India
R8476 Environmental variability and productivity of semi-arid grazing systems