Vegetable farming and farmers’ livelihood: Insights from Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
This study (PDF) in the Sustainability journal investigated whether vegetable farming contributes significantly to the livelihood of farmers by generating cash and providing employment opportunities. Agriculture is the main economic activity in Nepal, and vegetable farming is one of the major agricultural practices of peri-urban farmers in Kathmandu Valley (KV). The relationship between livelihood and vegetable farming based on the practices, views, and perceptions of vegetable farmers at four different sites in the outskirts of KV was studied. It was found that the most of the surveyed farmers are migrants who have spread to different corners of KV at different times. The model results indicate a significant positive relationship between vegetable farming and livelihood improvement. The number of vegetable farmers in the study area is increasing as vegetable farming has been recognized as a valuable source of income, and as the demand for vegetables has increased with urban growth. The survey results also reveal many constraints, e.g., poor market management and lack of irrigation facilities. A challenge is the haphazard urban growth which has a negative effect on urban farming. Other challenges are price fluctuation, and vegetable diseases. To help farmers overcome the challenges in vegetable farming, the government should support farmers with quality extension services aimed at increasing production and preserve urban farming. Systematic marketing management and frequent monitoring through formation of informal/formal local groups of vegetable farmers/government agencies would help protect farmers from middlemen. The study findings revealed the advantages of vegetable farming on livelihood along with the challenges to a certain extent. For the sustainability of urban agriculture and continued contribution of vegetable farming to economic development, further research on these matters would be significant. Further interventions should be implemented to strengthen the vegetable sector and sustain this source of livelihood for peri-urban farmers.