Land Preparation: An Integral Part of Farming Systems in the Mid-Hills of Nepal
AbstractLand preparation is an integral and, as yet, indispensable component of the farming practices followed by inhabitants of the middle hills of Nepal. Most farmers continue to follow age-old traditional soil tillage practices using locally fabricated ploughs and hand implements. Farming in the mid-hills involves a huge labour investment due in part to the nature of the land and part to the lagely manual methods used by the farmers. Recent years have seen substantial increases in land-use intensification in the agricultural sector throughout the mid-hill areas of Nepal. Such intensification is mainly in the form of increased off-season vegetable and horticultural production. The development and adoption of new technologies for increased labour eficiency, reduced costs, and minimised soil tillage and exposure to erosion are required to ensure the sustainability of farming in the middle hills of Nepal. An integrated approach involving soil and water conservation practices, as well as, diversified, carefully managed cropping, soil fertility, organic matter; and weed/pest control systems are needed. This paper provides a preliminary review of existing traditional practices and innovative techniques for land preparation in the mid-hills of Nepal.
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