A Discourse on Agricultural Intensification in the Mid-Hills of Nepal

Agricultural intensification is not as simple as the Boserupian process of agricultural change; rather it is a complex evolutionary process involving several interacting drivers. This article attempts to identify the gaps in the social, economic, and environmental effects of agricultural intensification in the mid-hills of Nepal by reviewing agricultural intensification, which emerged as a major subject of development discourse in livelihood improvement and environmental degradation in Nepal. Intensification of agriculture has provided improved economy, food security, employment opportunities, decision making, labor division, local institutions, and leaderships. However, with the aim of increasing production, the intensification process has almost overlooked essential environmental factors -- soil acidification, fertility decline, and greenhouse gas emissions have been accelerated. A path towards sustainable intensification would be possible through improvements in agricultural extension programs such as integrated pest management (IPM) and farmers’ field schools. Indeed, good institutional systems make sustainable agricultural intensification economically feasible. Thus, such measures will probably encourage farmers and likely ensure economically- and environmentally-sound production, with the promise of sustainable agricultural intensification.

Vol. 8 No. 1, June 2011

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