Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia Nepal

Nepal is a predominantly agricultural country, with two-thirds of the labor force engaged in agriculture, which represents about one-third of the national GDP. Smallholders are the norm with nearly half of all farms having less than half a hectare of land. Yields of major cereal crops and pulses in Nepal are low and are insufficient to meet demand projections for domestic consumption.


As part of the Feed the Future (FTF) Presidential Initiative, CSISA-NP’s technical priorities for rice, lentils, and maize are addressing the key production challenges that are critical to achieve sustainably intensified production systems. An essential step involves increasing the supply and accessibility of nationally approved, high-yielding open pollinated variety and hybrid seeds that are adapted to local conditions. In addition, CSISA – NP will demonstrate effective management practices such as conservation tillage that result in higher yields and reduce the need for labor.

CSISA-NP will strengthen the seed sector for rice, lentils, and maize and markedly increase the availability of locally-adapted crop and resource management technologies as well as the capacity for partners to bring these innovations to farmers. Project activities will focus on appropriate technologies for women farmers who have been affected by greater work burdens as a result of male outmigration from rural areas.


Strengthening and building sustainable seed systems:

  • Work with the private sector to have them take on the role of identifying and promoting high performing varieties preferred by farmers.
  • Improve  crop production and productivity through the use of quality seeds for new hybrid and open-pollinated varieties

Applied research and technology validation for rice, lentil and maize:  

  • Identify and create small-scale mechanized implements such as threshers, direct seed drums, direct seeders and hand held tractors to reduce the labor burden for women farmers.
  • Increase participation of farmers in new maize variety development process alongside researchers and government extension workers.
  • Implement site-specific and efficient nutrient management
  • Disseminate reduced tillage practices that enhance soil organic matter and moisture as well as productivity.

Supporting ‘change agents’ for accelerating uptake of new technologies at scale:

  • Establish and sustain linkages, partnerships, and innovation platforms   
  • Improve capacity of change agents and actors involved in agriculture networks


CSISA-NP will validate and demonstrate the use of improved crop varieties and best management practices, such as reduced tillage for maize and direct seeded rice In addition, it will support the private sector in providing quality seed varieties to farmers. CSISA-NP will create a service sector around provision of affordable mechanized agriculture services including plowing, threshing, and harvesting. These practices will be scaled-up across the twenty Feed the Future districts. A list of illustrative results is the following: 

  • Double to triple existing yields through adoption by farmers of best practices including use of improved high-yielding, climate-smart rice, lentil and maize varieties as well as conservation tillage practices.
  • Better farmer access to high-yielding, quality seed varieties.
  • Improved productivity from mechanized implements focused on women farmers.  
  • Small-scale farming implements focused on women available in the market.
  • Availability of mechanization services to small-scale farmers at affordable rates.
  • Nutrient management system in use by farmers
  • Adoption of CSISA-NP best practices across the twenty Feed the Future districts.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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