Meet the FABLE Nepal team

The team is led by the Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS).

SIAS is a research institute in South Asia, established in 2011. It focuses on research, policy engagement, and scholarly exchange related to thematic areas such as local governance, natural resource governance, climate change, urbanization, and disaster risk reduction. The institute seeks to generate knowledge, publishes scholarly work, and organizes seminars to address social and environmental challenges through informed decision-making and policy formulation.

The team’s main areas of interest are pathways to strengthen local, self-sufficient food systems, reduce post-harvest loss, and achieve food security. The team is eager to engage with provincial and local governments to inform agricultural policies and programs at sub-national levels.

Contact focal point

Models used by the team: FABLE Calculator, CAPRI, GLOBIOM, MAgPIE.

Shyam Kumar Basnet

Shyam Kumar Basnet

Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS)

Dil Khatri

Dil Khatri

Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS)

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Sushant Acharya

Rupesh Tha

NIMS College

Transforming food and land-use systems in Nepal

In Nepal, food and land-use systems play a vital role in the country's economy and livelihoods. Agriculture is the primary occupation, with over two-thirds of the population engaged in farming. The terrain of Nepal ranges from fertile plains to high mountains, offering diverse agro-ecological zones. The food system is characterized by traditional farming practices, including subsistence agriculture and small-scale farming. Rice is the staple crop, along with maize, wheat, millet, and potatoes.

Nepal faces several challenges in its food and land-use systems. The country heavily relies on subsistence farming and imported foods, with the mountainous regions being particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Limited government support and small land ownership hinder domestic production, making it less attractive and expensive. This is coupled with low agricultural productivity resulting from slow technology adoption, low investment, small land sizes, and the impact of climate change. Nepal's cereal yield has stagnated while other countries have made progress, affecting overall agricultural production.

Rice dominates Nepalese diets and rice imports have become vital for food security. In 2020, rice and wheat accounted for more than 75% of imported foods. Affordable imported food has led to a decrease in local food production and farm profitability. Import dependency has increased with a growing population and changing consumption patterns. Relying on imported cereals like rice and wheat poses risks to food security, as observed during conflicts or trade disruptions.

While commercial production practices are on the rise, there is a need to balance them with sustainable approaches that consider indigenous cultivars and local farming practices. This will ensure the transformation of the production system is environmentally friendly and supports long-term sustainability.

Key national objectives and targets

Nepal’s Long-term Strategy for Net-zero Emissions submitted in 2021 projects that the net CO2 emissions will be reduced by 30 mMtCO2 in 2030 and 50 mMtCO2 in 2050 ('with existing measures' (WEM) scenario). In this scenario, LULUCF will contribute significantly to carbon removal in the first 10 years.

The priorities identified for the agriculture sector are switching to better cultivation practices, rice intensification system, better manure management, soil organic matter enrichment, soil management practices such as low soil tillage, adaptive and resilient varieties, and breeds, expanded adoption of controlled release of stabilized fertilizers, better enteric fermentation processes, and promoting agroforestry and other sustainable agriculture systems.

Nepal aims to minimise emissions and achieve netzero emissions by 2045.