While the patterns and trends of land abandonment have been widely researched, there is still limited understanding of the causes and implications of underutilizing agricultural lands. Furthermore, the literature is scanty on what motivates farmers to be involved in agriculture utilizing the limited arable land. Through participatory assessment tools and a survey of 240 farming households in the Kaski district of Nepal, this paper generates empirical evidence on why farmers have been keeping their agricultural land fallow. About 40% of households had kept at least one of their farm plots uncultivated for more than two consecutive years, and about 28% of the total farm plots owned by the sampled households were kept fallow. On average, households produced enough food for their family for only seven months in the year. This study demonstrates that ensuring security of farmers’ investment in agriculture is crucial for getting farmers to utilize their cultivatable land wisely. Utilizing multiple regression models, the paper indicates that farmers’ decisions to cultivate or keep their land fallow is influenced by education, family size, number of farm plots, out-migration of family members, distance from the house to town, plot size, irrigation status, land slope, and distance of plot from home. It is imperative to assist smallholder farmers by setting price floors for their products. This study also provides empirical evidence that agricultural conditions and food security in rural areas of Nepal can be improved through better access of farmers to agricultural inputs and improved marketing mechanisms for agricultural products.
Food Security – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2018
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