The number of landless and land-poor people in Nepal is high and
increasing. The National Bureau of Statistics in Nepal suggests
that 25% of the population are landless.
Many people have been moving from the hills to the Tarai. The
reasons for migration are many-fold: the available land for
cultivation is getting smaller as farms are divided among
children, environmental impacts on the land, growing poverty
and, during conflict time, political pressure on individuals and
People moving to the Tarai now often have to settle as
squatters. They find it increasingly difficult to obtain land
Landless and land-poor make their living as farm labourers in
the district, or they migrate to India in search of work. The
vast majority of landless live below the poverty line.
Vast tracks riverbeds are dry and fallow
during the period from October to May. It is common land under
the responsibility of village authorities. The land is fertile,
yet it is currently not used.
The main objective of the riverbed farming project is to develop
a system through which landless and land-poor people gain access
to riverbeds during the dry season. They are able to cultivate
horticultural products, link up with local and regional markets
and generate thereby income.
Helvetas is supporting the Ministry of Local Development and the
District Administrations for the development of a National
Riverbed Farming Strategy.
Local authorities and groups of landless
and land-poor sign leasehold contracts providing access to
riverbeds for horticultural activities exclusively to
landless and land-poor people;
Around 2,000 landless and land-poor
households engage in seasonal cultivation of horticultural
products in dry riverbeds;
Sale of the products reach 400-600 USD
per household in a 5 months cultivation period;
Local Service Providers offer competent
training and technical services on demand to groups of
Piloting of a flood damage insurance.
Helvetas operated a small pilot initiative in
riverbed farming in 2007 and 2008, including around 1000
households in Far Western Districts of the Tarai.
After winning the Development Marketplace 2008 of the World Bank
with a proposal on Riverbed Farming, Helvetas was able to expand
its activities during the cultivation season 2008 / 2009 and
support 2200 landless and land-poor households in Kailali and
Kanchanpur District in their effort to take up riverbed farming.
A leasehold contract has been developed by Kailali and
Kanchanpur DDC with support from Helvetas.
Around 80 producer groups have signed leaseholds with VDCs,
assuring them the right to cultivated a specific area of dry
riverbed for the coming three years.
Helvetas has supported the training of 20 Local Resource Persons
who are now in the field and advising landless and land-poor on
how to produce vegetables in dry riverbeds.
Local marketing agents have been linked with wholesalers and
they facilitate profitable sales of vegetables by producers.
The project works in close partnership with
DDCs and District Agricultural Offices
DfID: CHF 115,000 (2008 / 2009 cultivation
World Bank (Development Market Place 2008): USD 200.000
DDCs: CHF 12,000
Bhaibedi-2, Bhangadhi, Kailali
Tel: + 977 91-521038
Fax: + 977 91- 520861