The political economy of cardamom farming in eastern Nepal: Crop disease, coping strategies, and institutional innovation
This article (PDF) in the SAGE Open Journal investigated the impact of crop disease on cardamom farmers’ livelihoods, as well as both individual and institutional efforts to combat the disease in Nepal. Strategies varied by household circumstances, like size of landholding, alternative income sources, and access to supporting institutions. They included burning fields, changing land use patterns, diversifying crops, and seeking institutional support. During a crisis, farmers expect government institutions to help, especially when customary practices have not solved the problem. However, due to weak capacity, local government support was limited to providing training and distributing new varieties of cardamom. Despite acquiring substantial revenue from cardamom, the national government has failed to appoint adequate crop experts at the local level. Local institutions hence cannot meet the demands of farmers dealing with the cardamom crisis. This calls for institutional innovation at the micro level. Therefore, to protect and improve farmers’ livelihoods, institutional innovation at the community level is needed, along with policies that provide immediate and sustainable support during crises. These policies should be focusing strictly on preventing or combating disease through research. Additionally, the government’s institutional capacity and support for innovation is crucial. Institutions should be formed to support farmers taking alternative measures. These institutions should formulate proper innovation methods and reach out to farmers of diverse groups.