Farming alone can’t meet the needs of a growing population. Faced with environmental stress and limited economic opportunities, rural youth are finding it increasingly hard to make a living in the mountains, and choose to migrate to urban areas and abroad, leaving the women and old people behind.
Non-farm livelihood options are pivotal to the sustainable future of mountain people and communities. A wide range of alternative income sources needs to be explored, understood and promoted, including rural enterprise development, collection of medicinal plants and other herbs, tourism, wage labor and remittance work. From micro-finance for livelihood promotion to market linkages for mountain products to information community technology (ICT) for rural development, ICIMOD works to expand the opportunities for earning a viable livelihood in the mountains.