Essay Agriculture in the Himalayas of Nepal

Essay Agriculture in the Himalayas of Nepal

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Agriculture in the Himalayas of Nepal

According to some estimates, as much as 90% of Nepal's population relies on agriculture for its sustenance.[1] The significant climactic variations between Nepal's sub-tropical Terai region, hills region, and Himalayan mountain region lead to a variety of different agricultural models. Within the northern Himalayan region, additional variations in agricultural style exist because of changes in the qualities of available soil and quantities of moisture at different altitudes. Some researchers remark that it is even possible to anticipate the ethnicity of a group in a rural Himalayan village by glancing at an altimeter, as the traditional lifestyles maintained by the Nepali-speaking caste Hindus and sub-Tibetan peoples require the climactic conditions present at certain altitudes.[2] This paper will introduce a variety of agricultural systems and practices found in the Himalayas, and it will also explore the relationships that the Himalayas' Nepali inhabitants have with weather conditions and the climate.

In his article ÒEcology, Economy, and Social System in the Nepal HimalayasÓ, Dr. Shigeru Ijima identifies several altitude zones in the central Nepal Himalayas and the lifestyles associated with them.[3] Up to 2,000 meters above sea level, agriculture typically focuses on rice production, although farmers also produce maize and millet. Slightly higher, between 2,000 to 2,500 meters, barley, wheat, and buckwheat can also be found with regularity. The Hindu peoples that inhabit both of these zones have sedentary agriculture communities where rainfall and mild temperatures allow the growth of two crops during the year. Many of the people in these regions come from lower castes, and th...

... middle of paper ...

...epal's ever increasing population, it will be interesting to observe how such demands affect the crop choices and agricultural techniques employed by farmers.


Iijima, Shigeru. ÒEcology, Economy, and Social System in the Nepal Himalayas.Ó Developing Economics, 2 (1964): 91-105.

Berreman, Gerald. ÒPeople and Cultures of the HimalayasÓ, Asian Survey, 3, no. 6 (1963): 289-304.

Lindsay, Harry, and D.G. Lowndes, ÒExplorations in the Nepal Himalayas: Discussion.Ó The Geographical Journal, 117 (1951): 273-274.

Savada, Andrea, ed. Nepal: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1991.

Schroeder, Robert F. ÒHimalayan Subsistence Systems: Indigenous Agriculture in Rural Nepal.Ó Mountain Research and Development, 5, no. 1 (1985): 31-44.

Whelpton, John. A History of Nepal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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