BLOG SURF: Access to farming

Small farmers have typically had very few opportunities for decision-making in Nepal. Those from the Dalit caste and ethnic minorities have even less.

And female farmers perhaps the least. That is changing in some parts of the country, though. Kimaya Sarki, a 45-year-old woman from the traditionally untouchable Dalit community in Siraha District in eastern Nepal has only 1.5 hectares of land which is situated at the tail-end of a soon-to-be-built irrigation scheme.

For years, she had no hope for irrigating her land. “We were never going to get enough water for the crops. My husband’s grandfather got very little, so did my father-in-law and now we are not getting much more either.

I didn’t know who to talk to,” she said. In Nepal, access to water from irrigation systems is based on membership of water users’ associations (WUAs), but you can only be a member if you possess the land ownership certificate.

Typically, men are the ones who hold these.