Back to news

Kidney Beans Improve Income and Nutrition in Kailash Sacred Landscape

3 mins Read

70% Complete

 

ICIMOD’s Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI), in partnership with the Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA), has identified kidney bean production as an income generating option to improve the livelihoods of the Vanrajis, an ethnic minority group indigenous to the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand in India and western Nepal.  The area is famous for producing high quality kidney beans – a cash crop which sells at a very high price in the markets within Pithoragarh district and beyond. KSLCDI introduced kidney beans production to Vanrajis to help them earn cash income.

Originally nomadic hunter-gatherers, Vanrajis were given scheduled tribe status in 1967 and put into settlements by the government in the 1980s. They are the smallest Himalayan ethnic group, and among the poorest, most vulnerable tribes in the country. In India, there are only 158 Vanraji families with a total population of 620, presently inhabiting nine villages in Pithoragarh district located at altitudes ranging between 789 to 1,700 meters above sea level. These include Aultari, Kulekh, Jamtari (Kanalichhina Development Block), Chifaltara, Bhagtirwa, Gainagaon, Kimkhola (Dharchula Development Block), Madanpuri, and Kuta-Chaurani (in Didihaat Development Block).

According to a study conducted by ICIMOD and CHEA, in 2013, the entire Vanraji population fell below the poverty line, with an estimated average annual family income of INR 20,242 and extremely low literacy (men: 46.8 percent; women: 3.9 percent). Their main sources of income ranged from wage labour to household poultry and livestock. Once landless, they were recently given marginally fertile land by the government. Families owned less than half a hectare of land, and around 51 percent owned less than 0.1 hectare.

Vanraji families in all villages grow subsistence food crops such as wheat, maize, finger millets, soybeans and black grams. However, this is sufficient only for two to three months a year. Vegetable cultivation was recently introduced by community based organisations to improve nutrition and cash income.

Key interventions include: organising Vanrajis into participatory groups; facilitating access to high quality seeds and other inputs; training in methods of cultivation and technical support; field trips to farmers cultivating kidney beans in Munshyari, a nationally famous area for kidney beans production; promotion of organic farming technologies such as vermicomposting and integrated pest management (IPM); support in packaging and branding; and facilitating marketing of produce.

In 2013, its first year of intervention, 40 households in five villages were engaged in kidney beans production on 50 nalis (one hectare) of land producing 226 kg (5 – 9 kg/household) of the crop. Initial production was less than expected due to heavy rains and floods and it being the first year of cultivation. However, farmers were excited and interested in continuing the following year. Encouraged by their positive response and interest the kidney beans, cultivation was expanded to all villages increasing the number of farmers and the area producing 1,500 kg in 2014. In 2015, cultivation was expanded further by engaging all 158 households, increasing the total area under cultivation to four hectares. The expected production is 2,000 kg.

Success story of Kaman Singh: a Vanraji farmer engaged in kidney beans production 

A progressive member of the Vanraji community with substantial land, Kaman Singh of Kulekh Jamtadi village was one of the first few farmers who agreed to take part in the pilot study. Unfortunately, the heavy rains and flooding in 2013 rendered his crop useless in the first year. In 2014 Singh planted two kilograms of kidney bean seeds in an area of two nalis (i.e. 0.04 ha) and harvested 35-40 kg of crop. He kept some seeds for the following year, used a part for subsistence and sold the rest through participating in trade fairs earning a cash income of INR 3,000. Having seen the benefits, Singh further increased the area under kidney beans this year, and is expecting even higher production.

Authors:
Uma Partap, Tashi Dorji and Rajan Kotru from ICIMOD

Jagadish Kandpal, Girish Joshi, Pankaj Tewari and Pushkin Phartiyal from CHEA

Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.

Sign Up

Related Content

Continue exploring this topic

CCAC to support brick study in Nepal

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Nepal on 25 April 2015 and the more than 300 aftershocks that followed, ...

10 Jun 2017 News
Silently Marching for Lake Nainital

This year's World Environment Day, a day through which awareness for our natural environment is raised, was celebrated with much ...

Preserving Traditions and Strengthening Livelihoods through Transboundary Yak Conservation

Nepal, India, and Bhutan – which share the transboundary Kangchenjunga landscape in the eastern Himalaya – have been connected through ...

30 Jul 2015 Atmosphere Initiative
Emission study to close data gaps

Emission is a major determinant of air quality, and improving quantification and characterization of emission sources in the Hindu Kush ...

14 Sep 2015 News
Experts visit WUMP districts to better understand water availability and use

ICIMOD and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal initiated a collaborative action research to develop local Water Use Master Plans (WUMP) for the Koshi ...

15 Sep 2016 News
Flood Mapping Made Easier in Bihar

Bihar, India’s most flood-prone state, is under constant threat of flooding. Every year, floods destroy lives, livestock, infrastructure and bring ...

5 Jun 2023 Press releases
山区居民、登山者和科学家在珠峰敲响警钟,倡议世界各国领袖们立即迈向脱碳之路

距人类首登世界之巅已70年,而气候紧急情况发生在此:在兴都库什-喜马拉雅区域内,三分之二的冰川预计将在本世纪末消失。 领先的山地机构国际山地综合发展中心(ICIMOD)、尼泊尔登山协会(NMA)和山区伙伴关系(Mountain Partnership) 呼吁全世界来拯救地球上的冰雪,以避免为时过晚。 #“拯救我们的雪”宣言在最初48小时内就收集到1000多个签名,其中包括新西兰前总理、各国外交官、传奇登山者和著名地球科学家。 尼泊尔加德满都讯(2023 年 5 月 29 日)——七十年前的今天,在埃德蒙·希拉里爵士和丹增·诺尔盖首次登上珠峰 ; 70 年后的今天,地球上最高的山峰正在经历由全球变暖引起的前所未有且基本不可逆的变化。 全球变暖正在危及珠峰与兴都库什-喜马拉雅地区的环境,该地区横跨八个国家,约长3500公里。根据目前的排放情况,科学家预计在未来70年内,该地区三分之二的冰川或将消融。 国际山地综合发展中心(ICIMOD)在包括 尼泊尔登山协会 和 山区伙伴关系(联合国自愿伙伴联盟)在内的全球山地机构的支持下,呼吁公众支持 #拯救我们的雪(#SaveOurSnow)运动。该运动要求公众: 在社交平台分享来自世界各地山区的故事和照片,使用#SaveOurSnow 标签 强调气候影响; 在网址 icimod.org/saveoursnow/declaration/ 签署一份宣言,呼吁各国政府兑现将升温限制在 1.5 ...

13 Aug 2018 News
ICIMOD’s Eklabya Sharma delivers Sikkim University Foundation Day Lecture

By sharing relevant data from the HKH on increasing temperature trends, glacier area loss, and changing precipitation patterns, Sharma explained ...