Nepal Placeholder

Improved livelihood resilience through conversion of Hemp cultivated area by Climate Resilient Cash Crop

About the Implementing organization

Name: National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre

Country: Nepal

Year of establishment: 2007

Type of organization: Non Government Organization


The solution was implemented with the financial assistance of UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programme in the Chepang community. The Chepang is an ethnic minority group that inhabits disaster prone areas and lives a nomadic life fraught with food insufficiency (up to 9 months), illiteracy and poverty.

The major achievement of the project was a reduction in flood and landslide risks through agroforestry in 2,450 ha of land. It diverted the illegal hemp farming (wherein middlemen abused the locals) to legal cash crops like ginger, turmeric, sweet potatoes, banana and pineapples in 1420 ha. The project introduced other environment friendly technologies like improved cooking stoves (450), sloping agriculture land technology in 730 ha, plantation of grass, fodder, non-timber/medicinal and aromatic species (380 ha), drinking water and irrigation schemes (3 schemes each), conservation ponds (10), skills development trainings (3 events) and documented and disseminated traditional knowledge for policy development.

The project was innovative in that it reached the most neglected tribe dwelling in an extremely remote disaster prone area of Nepal and empowered them such that the beneficiaries executed the project while the project staff only played facilitative roles. The project was different as it successfully integrated sustainable livelihood strategies and disaster risks reduction approach that offered economic benefit and harmonized with nature and cultural practices.

Nature Element

Forests / Wetlands / Rivers / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

The introduction of sloping agriculture land technology helped in greenery promotion, slope stabilization, and erosion control in 4980ha of land. The loss of property and life due to disasters was reduced by 70% against the baseline. Soil fertility of more than 870 ha of land was improved by reducing the reckless use of agrochemicals. The organic farming promotion has boosted overall environmental health. Repair and maintenance of 3 drinking water systems have provided easy access and optimum utilization of water. With the completion of drinking water schemes, more than 1512 households are receiving regular supply and the surplus is being used to irrigate 620 ha of land thus maintaining soil moisture and minimizing drought risks. An easy supply of fodder and water has reduced women's drudgery and they have been able to utilize the time saved for other conservation activities. For example, engagement of women in the anti-poaching campaign has reduced wild animal poaching by 80%.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The project has contributed to long-term disaster risk reduction, livelihood resilience, food security and health of the community. More than 2150 families shifted from hemp to cash crops cultivation and developed direct market linkage thus minimizing their risk of getting arrested for unlawful activity. With the introduction of climate-smart crops and arrangement of irrigation facilities, farmers save 60% of their time which they invest in other income generation and community development activities. Food sufficiency has increased from 3 to 12 months. Large scale plantation in 650 ha of land has helped in land stabilization and water source conservation reducing threats of floods and landslide for 27 communities (serving more than 16200 population). Four different training sessions and orientations were successful in producing local entrepreneurs. These initiatives are instrumental in creating jobs and uplifting livelihoods, improving food and water security, and reducing disaster risks.


Twelve neighboring VDCs with similar socio-economic characteristics and vulnerabilities due to climate change have emulated the activities of the three project VDCs because of their simplicity, cost-effectiveness, socio-cultural acceptability and efficacy. The project demonstrated home was grown and locally adaptable solutions that reduced vulnerabilities and also strengthened livelihood. Scalable activities include agroforestry, plantation around water sources, and rehabilitation of drinking water and irrigation schemes. Forest being connected with the livelihood of people, the project aimed at maintaining 50% of the total project village area as forest. The practice has been adopted by 7 villages around the project area. Inspired by this project, many neighboring villages have switched from hemp to cash crop cultivation as the latter is legal and sustainable. Locally adaptable and culturally acceptable solutions of the project make it appeal for wider expansion.


The solutions offered by the project can be replicated in Nepal because it offers local nature-based culturally acceptable economic solutions to other marginalized groups facing similar problems. Since the solutions do not require complicated and expensive advanced technologies, they could be replicated without external assistance. The project offered solutions can be customized according to the local capacity and conditions. For instance, a combination of crops in agroforestry may be altered ensuring at least one climate resilient crop. Since the project offers integrated solution for livelihood and DRR through gender and social inclusion, it is highly relevant throughout the country. The solutions are widely accepted by neighboring communities because much of it is based on local indigenous knowledge. Some project activities have been replicated in Banganga River Basin of Kapilbastu District and the project has also been honored with Adaptation at Scale prize of DFID in December 2017.

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