Nepal | September 29, 2020

Urbanisation leading to loss of cropped area

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, December 14

Urbanisation is leading to loss of cropped area, necessitating the import of food to urban areas from outside, says a report published by the government.

According to the National Urban Development Strategy, promotion of urban and peri-urban agriculture can ensure some degree of food security, reduce transport costs of food imports and hence the food price, help convert urban waste into resource for food production, provide livelihood for the urban poor, lead to savings in land, energy and water resources, better public health due to greenery, and help improve land and urban management.

Urban and peri-urban agriculture can be promoted in rooftops, vacant lots, peripheral areas of public buildings, parks and garbage landfills, it suggested. Peri-urban agriculture has been a major provider of vegetable and horticultural products in major urban regions in the United States as well as China.

According to the strategy, agriculture provides direct and indirect employment to 32.2 per cent of total employed economically active population in the urban areas in Nepal. The importance of agriculture in urban areas can be reckoned by the fact that in 2001 agriculture was the major occupation of 46 per cent of urban population in the hills and mountains, 38 per cent in the inner Tarai urban areas, 29 per cent in the Tarai and 13 per cent in Kathmandu valley.

The early urban growth of Kathmandu was based on its agricultural surplus, and the agricultural potential remains considerable even today. Kathmandu Valley, one of the most urbanised regions in Nepal, produces 4.6 per cent of the total vegetables and 3.5 per cent of total potato produced in the country. Also, the Valley contributes 1.9 per cent of national paddy, 3.3 per cent of maize, 2.3 per cent of wheat and 4.5 per cent of total national soybean production.

Agriculture land in urban areas is decreasing at an alarming rate. The agricultural area in the Valley is reported to have declined from 58.4 per cent to 47.4 per cent between 1990 and 2012, it warned. Moreover, agricultural lands in peri-urban areas are converted into buildable plots, leading to urban sprawl and loss of agricultural land that can fulfil food requirements of the city. Urban and peri-urban agriculture is seen as an element of ecologically sustainable urbanisation as food security is increasingly recognised as a concern in urban planning, it said.

 


A version of this article appears in print on December 15, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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