Action research, piloting and up-scaling concern agriculture-based high-value products covering a wide ecological zone, from the wet climate of the eastern Himalayas to the arid climate of far western Pakistan, and from tropical to alpine situations.
High-value product and value chain development by various initiatives at ICIMOD include ginger and vegetables in Myanmar’s Inle lake region; goat and vegetable value chains in Bhutan’s Chirang District; and nuts, sea-buckthorn and yak value chains in Pakistan’s mountain provinces. In India, it includes tulsi and bay-leaf value chains in Uttarakhand and community-led veterinary health services in Meghalaya, while in Nepal it ranges from the large cardamom spice value chain in eastern Nepal and remittance use in high value agriculture in mid-west Nepal. Piloting of climate smart agriculture in Pakistan introducing hybrid energy sources for irrigation such as potable solar pump and micro-hydel run by low water velocity is done in the mid hill areas of Pothohar region.
Much of the work impacts several countries, such as development of the butter tree honey, livestock products and Banraji rajmah (kidney beans) value chains in the Kailash landscape of India and Nepal, and the testing of agriculture development technologies, such as solar-powered irrigation pumps, in Nepal and Pakistan. Agricultural water management practices and high-altitude irrigation systems fed by glaciers and snow in Hunza of Pakistan and Langtang of Nepal are experimented.
Action research on REDD+ and studies are also making a broad and significant impacts on integrating forestry in watersheds contributing to sustainable agriculture. Under the REDD initiative, agroforestry systems are being developed which contribute to the REDD+ objectives that the farmers are adopting on their farm land. ICIMOD is also promoting sharing of knowledge on agroforestry between the HKH countries through field visits. ICIMOD research on food-water-energy nexus for the HKH region has been well received. Food and nutritional security research across the Himalayan region is currently underway, while large-scale agriculture burning and winter-fog studies contribute to the overall understanding of agriculture practices and development in the region. ICIMOD has also added to overall data availability and information-based decision making through the use of Earth Observation, and Geospatial Information and Communication (G-ICT) in agriculture sector of Nepal. A web-based agriculture atlas and in-season agriculture drought monitoring system has been produced. Currently agriculture drought monitoring system is being extended to an operational agro-meteorology advisory platform.