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It is estimated that about 8,000 hectares of riverbed land would be suitable for agricultural cultivation in the Kailali and Kanchanpur Districts in the Western Terai areas of Nepal. After the river water recedes in the post-monsoon season, vegetables are planted in ditches dug into the seasonal sand banks; the crops are harvested before the onset of the next monsoon. In 2006, Elam Plus of HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation Nepal, assessed local practices of riverbed farming and piloted an improved approach with 670 farmers, mostly from the indigenous Tharu community. During the first year they cultivated 43 hectares. Since the initial results indicated that riverbed farming could increase the target population’s income significantly, the programme was expanded from the initial two districts (Kailali and Kanchanpur) to two new districts (Banke, and Bardiya). The number of households was increased to 2000 in 2008 and 3165 in 2012 after the initiative won a Global Development Market Place award from the World Bank.
Kanchanpur and Kailali Districts, Nepal
WOCAT database reference: QT NEP 34
Location: Kanchanpur and Kailali Districts, Nepal
Technology area: 4 km2
Conservation measure(s): Agronomic
Land Use: Originally fallow land now used for one season crop plantation
Stage of intervention: Rehabilitation for income generation
Origin: Ganges plains of India
Related approach: Land distribution and allocation for riverbed farming (QA NEP 34)
Compiled by: Hari Gurung, Elam Plus, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation
Date: April 2011, updated March 2013
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