Tony Bartlett is Forestry Research Program Manager with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). A version of this story was originally posted on the ACIAR website. ACIAR will host a session titled Equitable development: Improving livelihood benefits for smallholders in the forestry value chain at the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta on May 5 and 6.
Sujata Tamang makes a significant contribution to her country’s forestry research through her work with Forest Action Nepal and her involvement with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) program, Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agroforestry and community forestry in Nepal.
Tamang presented a paper at the Third World Congress on Agroforestry at a session titled “The Gender Dimensions of Applying Agroforestry Innovation”. She was one of 28 scientists from six partner countries —Ethiopia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Rwanda and Vietnam — sponsored by ACIAR to attend the congress.
She spoke about the increasing involvement of women in all aspects of agricultural production in the middle hills of Nepal. More than 4 million Nepalese men are now working and earning wages overseas, which means that for many families, women left at home now do all the farming, including tasks traditionally performed by men, such as ploughing.
Tamang pointed out that many current agricultural technologies are not women-friendly and that there is not enough labour to complete all necessary agricultural tasks.
As a result, in many regions up to 30 percent of farmland is now under-used, either without crops for a reduction from three rice crops to only one per year. This means that many communities now face increased food insecurity in terms of local production, even though families may have more income (from remittances) to buy food.
In her current project, Tamang is investigating ways to enhance the effectiveness of community forestry user groups. She is also looking at innovative ways to enable productive use of under-used agricultural land. Through her efforts she hopes to help enhance people’s livelihoods and improve food security in rural Nepal.
Attending the congress gave Tamang the opportunity to present her work to a global audience, gain new knowledge of agroforestry research around the world, and join a network of scientists from other countries who are also working on ACIAR-funded agroforestry research.
ACIAR project FST/2011/076 Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agroforestry and community forestry in Nepal
Sujata’s paper was jointly authored with two other ACIAR project researchers, Krishna Shrestha and Krishna Paudel.