Introduction to Agriculture in Nepal, Horticulture in Nepal, Livestock in Nepal and Cash Crops in Nepal: In Nepal, agriculture is central to the country’s economy. About 80% of the population is dependent on agriculture in one way or another, but there is not enough production to support the population. Nepal’s main occupation is agriculture. The process of cultivating land to produce food, vegetables, and crops is called agriculture. Agriculture is the foundation of the Nepalese people and for Nepal as well. This note provides information on agricultural activities in Nepal. Nepal has strong growth prospects. Its agro-biodiversity means it can produce a wide range of crops (cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, and other cash crops) at various locations across the country.
Agriculture is the process of growing crops and raising livestock animals. This includes preparing plant and animal products for human consumption and distributing them in markets. Nepal is called an agricultural country. This means that crops are a big part of the nation’s economy. Crops provide an important part of the daily life of the people and are one of the major exports of the country. Agriculture is still the mainstay of the economy, providing employment to more than 80% of the population and generating one-third of GDP.
Nepal’s main occupation is agriculture. The process of cultivating land to produce food, vegetables, and crops is called agriculture. From agricultural production, people earn an income to support themselves. In Nepal’s agriculture, there are many problems that farmers face. Farmers cannot afford modern farming equipment and other necessities due to high costs. The government of Nepal is also unworkable in this matter as the government should also take care in the field of agriculture. People cannot find a good market for their products due to lack of transportation facilities. Farmers are not educated and skilled to improve agriculture. Therefore, it is very difficult to improve Nepal’s agricultural status.
A guide on how to start agriculture in Nepal, horticulture in Nepal, livestock in Nepal and cash crops in Nepal
Nepal is an agricultural country. Farming is in nature and the crop is mostly associated with livestock. Nepal is rich in agricultural biodiversity. The major food crops in Nepal are rice, maize, millet, wheat, barley, and buckwheat. Nepal is also famous for its conservative tea, cardamom, turmeric, and ginger. Nepalese farmers grow a different variety of crops to avoid unpredictable weather conditions.
Pulses, rice, maize, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops, milk, and buffalo meat are some of the agricultural products in Nepal.
Agriculture is still the largest economic sector contributing more than 30% to the national GDP. State restructuring has provided opportunities to improve agriculture, and Nepalese agriculture is characterized by a high degree of diversity in terms of climatic and geographical variations. Due to the high altitude and high-temperature range across the country, agriculture in Nepal has special features.
Importance of agriculture in Nepal
The below measures must be taken to improve Nepalese agriculture;
- Provide agricultural training to farmers
- Run breeding programs
- Provide microcredit
- Establish industries on a more agrarian basis
- Introduce land reforms for democratic land distribution and scientific cultivation
- Improve irrigation facilities etc.
It is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the people in Nepal. Also, export agricultural products and earn foreign currency. It provides employment opportunities for the youth and therefore prevents the enthusiastic youth from going abroad.
Agriculture provides raw materials for many industries. Agriculture in Nepal is;
The source of food – Agriculture is the main source of food in Nepal. All food and cash crops are grown from the agriculture sector. Agriculture is a source of livelihood. We get all the necessary food from it. Therefore, it is an important food source.
Source of raw material – Agriculture is not only a source of food but also a dominant source of raw material. Jute, sugarcane, tobacco, etc. are produced or obtained from agriculture.
Employment opportunities – Agriculture is the main source of employment opportunities. According to a World Bank report, 71.74% of the total population is dependent on agriculture. According to the 6th agricultural census of the Government of Nepal, this number depends on 3,831,000 agricultural families. Thus, almost all farmers are fully engaged in agriculture, dominating agriculture in agricultural employment.
Source of foreign trade – Most agricultural products are exported to foreign or international markets. About 60% of agricultural products are exported to foreign lands. Tea, coffee, woollen fabrics, leather jackets, etc. are exported which are agricultural products.
Increase in government revenue – Since 60% of the exported goods are obtained from agriculture. Therefore, the government of Nepal includes export tax, tax, registration tax, etc., which is an important source of government revenue.
Different soil types in Nepal
The overall fertility status of inherent soils is poor in most of the soils cultivated in the central hills of Nepal. Improved practices can play an important role in sustainable soil management in the central hills of Nepal. However, long-term research is needed to learn more about the different types of land and the effect of land use on soil fertility. Soil is a natural body of minerals and organic matter found on the surface of the earth that is a source of plant growth and has ever-changing properties in response to many physical, chemical, and biological processes that take place over a geographical period.
There are different types of soil in Nepal. Soil characteristics change as a result of various factors such as geology, climate, and plant types. There is very limited soil research in Nepal. Alluvial soil, lacustrine soil, rocky soil, and mountain soil are the different types of soils found in Nepal. Nepali farmers have long used the traditional soil classification system based on soil color, texture, and watering system and can effectively discuss soil management in their village. There are different types of soil in the middle hills. But rocky soil prevails. Lacustrine soil is mainly found in the Kathmandu Valley. It is made from the material stored in the lake so it is fertile. Mountain soil is formed from the place where rocks, sand, and stones brought from glaciers are found. It is not even fertile soil.
The two main ways to maintain soil fertility in Nepal’s central hills are to use FYM and/or chemical fertilizers. FYM and manure are important sources of plant nutrients and organic matter in the soil in the mid-hills agricultural system.
Fruits and vegetable cultivation in Nepal
Different types of fruits are available in Nepal. Nepal is believed to be home to many varieties of fruit. Approximately 107 indigenous fruit species were reported in Nepal. 45 species are belonging to 37 species and they are reported as wild edible fruits. Some of the important items are Apples, Peaches, Pears, Berries, Walnuts, Oranges, Lime, Lemons, Mangoes, Lychees, Bananas, Pineapples, Papayas, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Pumpkins, and many leafy vegetables.
The most common vegetables that Nepalese people eat are Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Eggplant, green leafy vegetables such as Mustard, Spinach, Radish, Squash, and many other seasonal local vegetables. Vegetables are very important for Nepali households because they provide people with more nutrition than they need, but also because they provide an alternative source of income.
Vegetable production in Nepal has been growing rapidly in recent years as many people have found it important as a commodity as well as an alternative or important source of income. There are many types of vegetables in Nepal, but statistically, they are all classified under a common band, except potatoes. The total cultivated vegetable production land is 297,195 hectares which yield 4,271,270 metric tons. The largest share of vegetables in Nepal is Dhading with 51,645 MT and Chitwan with 18,409 MT. Different parts of vegetables like fruits, leaves, roots, twigs as well as dried and fermented vegetables are used in Nepal.
Cereal crops in Nepal
Cereal crops are dominated by Nepali agriculture. Rice, Corn and Wheat account for more than 80% of the area and production of cereals. Rice is a major cereal crop. Rice production is largely dependent on the monsoon and the timely availability of fertilizers and improved seeds. Since most of the agricultural research is based on rice, the productivity of this crop is still less than 3.5 metrics per hectare. Grain crops have played an important role in solving food security problems in Nepal. The key factors in increasing productivity in grain crops were irrigation facilities, use of improved and hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers, and better technical knowledge among farmers. Nepal’s agriculture, though diverse, dominates mostly the three major grain crops. Rice, wheat, and maize together account for 30.92% of the country’s agricultural GDP. These crops are important for the country’s food security.
Pulse crops in Nepal
Rice, maize, millet, wheat, barley, and buckwheat are the major food crops. The major cash crops in Nepal are oilseeds, potatoes; tobacco, sugarcane, jute, and cotton. The major pulses are gram, pigeon pea, black gram, horse gram, and soybean.
Cash crops in Nepal
Oilseed production is similar to that of pulses. However, the production of oilseeds has increased significantly in the current financial year, an increase of 16.1% over the previous season. Potato has been one of the major cash crops in recent years. Potatoes are close to self-sufficiency for fresh consumption and imports are mostly for chips and other industrial purposes. Similarly, vegetable production is expected to grow by some margin, production is almost self-sufficient; however, fruit production is expected to decline in the current financial year. Ginger is a major export item and its area is increasing along with its production.
Industrial crops in Nepal
Orthodox tea, cardamom, and coffee have competitive benefits due to favorable climate conditions.
Livestock farming in Nepal
Livestock is important in their livelihood and culture and they have limited alternative employment opportunities. Milk, meat, and eggs are the most important livestock products that not only enhance food security but are also a major source of nutritional needs.
Livestock animals are raised for producing milk, meat, eggs, wool, labor, etc. Livestock farming is an important agricultural subdivision of Nepal. Livestock growth rates are lower than for fisheries and cash crops, but livestock farming accounts for more than total fisheries and cash crops. In Nepal, along with farming, animal husbandry is an important occupation, as Nepal is an agricultural country. About 30% of the total population is engaged in the agriculture sector. In Nepal, people raise various animals such as goats, pigs, cattle, oxen, buffaloes, chickens.The breeding rate of buffaloes, pigs, lactating buffaloes, and birds was much better than that of cattle, sheep, ducks, laying ducks.
Cattle – Livestock is the main source of traction and fertilizer in Nepal. In terms of mass animal units, it is the largest cattle in Nepal. But compared to other livestock farming, the annual growth rate is very low (almost zero).
Buffalo – The main source of milk and meat in Nepal is Buffalo. It is also useful as a fertilizer and draft power for soil fertility. It is the second-largest group of cattle in Nepal in terms of large animal units.
Milking cow – Cows are used only for milk production in Nepal. Because the cow is our national animal, it is not used as cattle for meat production in Nepal.
Sheep – The use of mutton in favor of other meat products has negatively affected the annual growth rate of sheep. check the comeplete information here about sheep farming in Nepal.
Goat – Goats are the second most popular source of meat in Nepal. It also produces milk, but goat’s milk has not gained popularity.
Pigs – It is also one of the largest livestock sectors in Nepal. Pig Farming in Nepal is mainly carried out for meat production.
Chicken – It is the 3rd most popular meat source in Nepal. It has gained popularity due to its economic cost and positive effect on health compared to other meat products.
Duck – Duck is also a meat source in Nepal but is slowly losing its popularity.
Dairy farming in Nepal
Tin Nepal, the dairy sector is the most important sub-sector of livestock production in Nepal. Nepal is a country where special attention on dairy. Since cattle farming goes hand in hand with crop production, it is safe to say that milk is an important product of local farmers in Nepal. About 80% of the milk in the market is produced by small farmers. For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has given special importance to milk production and has tried to make animal husbandry more efficient in terms of food and fodder programs for farmers, improving the genetics of local cattle.
Irrigation management for agriculture in Nepal
Out of 2.7 million hectares of agricultural land in Nepal, only 1.3 M hectares have irrigation facilities. This provides an opportunity to increase the amount of agricultural production. Therefore, irrigation is an irreplaceable component of agricultural development. By the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) found that climate change and extreme events are losing about 0.8% of agricultural GDP annually. Agricultural productivity needs to be improved and made more resilient to environmental uncertainty and general change.
Important crops in Nepal
Nepal is rich in agricultural biodiversity. Rice, maize, millet, wheat, barley, and buckwheat are the major food crops.
Rice – Rice is an important part of almost every Nepali family. This is everyday food. Rice is the main source of livelihood and income for more than two-thirds of the farming households, so rice is the most important of all crops in Nepal. In total cultivation of 1,491,744 hectares, Nepal produces 561,011 metric tons of rice. The highest rice-producing district in Nepal is 40,323 metric tons. Chitwan is second with 34,809 metric tons. Rice contributes about 20% to the country’s gross domestic product (AGDP), which is more than 7% of Nepal’s GDP.
Maize – Maize is one of the largest crops in Nepal. This crop is always in high demand and its potential has been increasing by 5% annually in the last decade. Maize as a crop is very important for hill farmers because their cattle also depend on it. About 956,441 hectares is the total maize cultivated area in Nepal, and which produces approximately 2,713,635 metric tons of maize. Maize is the 2nd most important crop in Nepal.
Wheat – Wheat is one of the important crops in Nepal. This crop is widely used for making staples such as bread, biscuits, noodles, pasta, and cereals.
Potatoes – Potatoes are considered an important food in the hilly and mountainous regions of Nepal because of their year-round ability to grow and even on barren soils. Due to its potential in-home cooking, it is in high demand and has a decent production. Potatoes account for 6.57% of agricultural GDP and 2.17% of Nepal’s GDP.
Apple – Apple is the most important fruit crop in the mountainous region of Nepal in terms of production, area, and household economy. This fruit is in high demand and is considered one of the most prominent and preferred cash crops in the country. Apple is one of the most widely grown green crops in the world.
Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits are one of the most important commercial fruits in the hills of Nepal. Of the many citrus fruits, lemons, oranges, and grapes are the most abundant. This fruit crop occupies 26.3% of the total area covered by fruits in the country.
Banana – Bananas are a high-value food crop and an important fruit crop in Nepal. Demand is so high that it currently exceeds the gross national product.
Mango – Mango is an important summer destination that is very popular in Nepal. This fruit is low in calories and rich in vitamins A and C.
Export promotion crops in Nepal
Export promotion crops are a collection of crops grown in the country to export them. This includes coffee and cardamom.
Seeds and oilseeds in Nepal
Seeds or oilseeds are an important product and a major annual crop in Nepal. The most popular seeds grown and produced in Nepal are mustard, string beans, and soybeans. Mustard is the most popular in Nepal. Nepal is one of the largest mustard growers in the world, maintaining its focus on farming in the country.
Fish farming in Nepal
Fish is one of the best sources of nutrients; low in calories and cholesterol but rich in protein. Fishing plays an important role in improving Nepal’s economy as it is a source of livelihood for many ethnic groups in the country. Their demand is high because of their taste, their ability as a dish, and their nutrition. Fish farming in Nepal covers an area of 12,349 hectares and yields 62,725 metric tons. Nepal’s largest fish-producing district is Dhanusa. Due to this large demand, fish farming or pisciculture as a more profitable business in Nepal is constantly growing.
The fishing sector is one of the best activities in Nepal. Nepal is a small landlocked country but has the largest water resources in the world. The reason behind the abundant resources is many rivers, lakes, ponds, and canals. Nepal’s rivers originate in the foothills of the Himalayas, where there are eternal snow and glaciers.
The most popular species of fish in Nepal are Mahseer, Mountain Trout, Catfish, Murrie, Common Trout, and Rainbow Fish. And, these fish can be found anywhere in the cold and Himalayan rivers of Nepal such as Karnali, Trisuli, Koshi, Babai, Gandaki, and many others. Aside from the rivers, there are some lakes where fishing is allowed. Fewa Lake is the most famous lake for fishing in Nepal. In addition to fishing, you will enjoy natural and quality time on the banks of beautiful rivers and lakes.
Agricultural loans and subsidies in Nepal
Nepal’s agricultural policies have made subsidies a priority to increase productivity and improve food security. The Nepalese government has been allocating a large number of agricultural subsidies every year. The purpose of agricultural subsidies in Nepal is to provide input to consumers at a low cost to increase agricultural productivity and profitability to accelerate economic growth. The government has increased the interest subsidy on agricultural loans to 5%, and a 50% discount on interest rates for those who get bank credit for commercial agriculture. Existing policies and programs on agricultural subsidies should be aligned with the overall support framework, including better infrastructure, research, and dissemination of knowledge, capacity building, and the provision of market support. Now, we need to look at whether agricultural subsidies are the best way to deal with food security. In the future, it will be serious to think about why marginal farmers are starving to death due to financial scarcity to bear subsidized agricultural products.
NBL Agricultural Loan
Nepal Bank Limited (NBL) is mainly committed to the dreams of farmers by understanding its responsibilities turning the dreams into reality. Focus on the commercialization of the agricultural sector as the Government of Nepal is focusing on the increasing commercialization of agricultural production/processing. We have introduced agricultural products to expand and diversify the business.
Various funds and non-funded credit facilities will be provided to the firms/businesses involved in commercial agriculture.
Some important features;
- Loan Processing
- Interest rate – Base rate +2% premium.
- Interest Subsidy of about 5% i.e., base rate + 2% Premium.
- Revolving Facilities – Maximum up to one year, subject to renewable performance review.
- Fixed-term loan – Up to a maximum of 15 years for fixed assets (depending on the nature of the business) (including livestock/planting/building, shed construction, etc.) with a suspended period. Interest subsidy for a period of up to 5 years.
In case of loan above Nrs. 50 million, 5% subsidy will be given on the first Nrs. 5 million and 2% on the remaining amount and subject to prior approval of Nrs. 50 million.
Agriculture lending sub-sectors in Nepal
- Livestock Farming – Cattle (Cow, Buffalo, Pig, Goat, and Sheep), Poultry (Broiler, Layer, Ostrich, and Coliseum), and Processing – Dairy, Slaughterhouse, Meat Processor, and Other
- Food Crops – Some of the food crops are Paddy, Wheat, Maize, Millet, Oilseeds, Pulses, and others.
- Cultivation of vegetables – Seasonal, non-seasonal, tunnel, high-tech, and others.
- Cash crops – The important cash crops are Tea, Coffee, Sugarcane, Cardamom, Apple, Kiwi, Banana, and Mushroom, etc.
- Floriculture – Cut Flowers, Roses, Orchids, ornamental plants, and others.
- Aquaculture / Fisheries – Fish, Hatchery, Bio- flocks and others
- Apiculture/beekeeping – Cerana and mellifera, honey processing, etc.
- Special crops – Seed production, spices, herbs, and walnuts, etc.
- Agricultural Mechanization – Transplanters, Broadcasters, Tractors, Threshers and Other Agricultural Machinery
Problems of Nepalese agriculture and their solutions
Nepalese agriculture uses traditional farming methods. Agricultural tools are not modern. Due to traditional farming, the work is very difficult and production is low. Farmers are not skilled in modern farming methods. They are not healthy enough to understand the potential of their farms. Crops and grains are destroyed by insects, pests, and weeds. Even animals cannot produce good crops when they are sick.
Lack of agricultural credit – Nepalese farmers generally suffers from extreme poverty. More than 25% of Nepal’s people live below the poverty line, and most of them are farmers. Therefore, agricultural debt has been the most serious problem in Nepal.
Lack of irrigation facilities – Agriculture in Nepal depends on the monsoon. Only 64% of the land is irrigated and 38% of it is estimated to be irrigated throughout the year. Thus, agriculture is not possible due to the lack of proper irrigation facilities.
Lack of marketing facilities – The agricultural marketing system in Nepal is disorganized. Most farmers sell their produce in the local market or the middlemen. Farmers get cheaper prices from the market for their produce. Lack of infrastructure – The development of agriculture depends heavily on the availability of physical infrastructure to modernize the agricultural sector. Roads, irrigation facilities, equipment, warehouses, market centers are essential for the exchange of agricultural products to increase the income of farmers.
Lack of transport and market – Lack of market causes agricultural products to rot in many places. Grain grown in the Terai cannot be easily transported to other areas. Due to a lack of storage facilities, agricultural products are suffering from low prices.
Unscientific and undemocratic distribution of land – The division of land is not scientific and undemocratic. Those who cultivate have no land at all, while those who do not cultivate the land accumulate a large area of land and do not cultivate it. Fertile valleys and plains are being taken over by settlements and industries. In addition, agricultural land was broken up into smaller parcels. It is difficult to cultivate such parcels. All this is the result of low production.
Overpressure of manpower – In Nepal, under cultivation less than 20% of the total area is available. But more than 60% of the population puts a burden on the land. With rapid population growth, the number of farmers cultivating the same crop is increasing. When the share of land for a farmer becomes too small, the yield per capita decreases.
Poor economic situation – Nepali farmers are farmers. They are forced to take out loans to support their families. Interest rates are high. Most of their production goes to interest payments. In such circumstances, they cannot apply new technology and machinery to improve farming.
Lack of research activities – A specific soil type and climate type suitable for one or more crops. But not enough research and experiments have been done to find the best crops and the best climate and soil type. Government plans and efforts are insufficient in this regard.
The following steps should be taken to improve Nepalese agriculture;
- Provide agricultural training to farmers
- Run breeding programs
- Provide microcredit
- Establish industries on a more agrarian basis
- Introduce land reforms for democratic land distribution and scientific cultivation
- Improve irrigation facilities etc.
Commonly asked questions about agriculture in Nepal
Which place is famous for apples in Nepal?
Apples are grown in the Mustang, Jumla, Dolpa, and Mugu districts.
Why is agriculture important in Nepal?
Agriculture is the main source of food, income, and employment for the majority according to the World Bank. Although new agricultural technologies have helped increase food production, there is still room for improvement.
Which bank has the lowest loan rate in Nepal?
NIC Asia Bank offers industry-leading loans with the lowest interest rate of about 7.75% where customers can avail loans for ordinary shares of banks / financial institutions, and insurance companies on the Nepal Stock Exchange.
Why Nepal is called an agricultural country?
Nepal is called an agricultural country because more than 70% of the people are engaged in the agriculture sector.
Which place is famous for fish in Nepal?
Tribeni, the confluence of three rivers, i.e. Arun, Tamor, and Sunkoshi, is a popular fishing ground for a variety of fish. Overall, the Sunkoshi River is the best freshwater fishing spot in Nepal.
Why is agriculture the backbone of Nepal’s economy?
Agriculture is the backbone of Nepal’s economy. The agriculture sector in Nepal accounts for about 33% of GDP and 78% of the total wages of employees.
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