About Myself Lyam Bahadur Darjee Country: Nepal, lives in western part of Neapl, rural area, five family members. - Land 0.5 hector for the entire family - Land rented another 0.5 hector land paying USD 80 as a rent annum. - General Secretary of National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), An People’s organization where only the land deprived people can be a members. Which is members of AFA.
-There are two community forests in my village adjoining to my farming field. -Our livestock is depended on the forest. This forest is a source of little water that comes to our field and we grow food. -We cannot imagine our lives without forest and the forest cannot be conserved without our sincere efforts.
There are 3.8 million families (70% of total population) whose livelihoods have been relied upon forests-based agriculture. I am one of them and I take this opportunity to share with you our challenges regarding our livelihoods and our struggle to resolve them.
1.Nepalese Context - Population: 26.4 million - Total Families:5.4 Million - Peasant Families:3.8 Million (70 percent) - Forest area: 39% Agricultural Area: 21% - Contribution of Agricultural in National production:35% - Uncultivated land: 1.3 million ha - Women in Agriculture: 89% - Average Land Coverage of family: 0.7 ha
Cont… - Youths in foreign employment: 3.5 million - 25% of the rural population are absolutely landless - Increased land grabbing and forced eviction by powerful elites and the state respectively - Over half (58%) of the rural population are functionally landless, with holdings too small even for subsistence requirements (<0.5 ha)
Critical issues 1. There is growing tendency of rich or elites to buy land for profit and keeping the land barren around the forest. This has systematically been pushed away indigenous tribes (Chepang, Santhal, Kishan, Tamang, and Raji) and dalits from their livelihood. 2.Government, business associations and private entrepreneurs have been increasing their investment on corporate farming and commercial farming land poor and smallholders displacing the tilling and living land.
Cont……. 3.Community forests are being captured by the timber entrepreneurs and the political actors. 4. Government has been evicting forcefully to the poor families residing in the near by the forests …. 5. The indigenous knowledge about forest conservation and sustainable farming have not been recognized and utilized.
6. Over 51% small farmers cannot produce food from their farm for more than six months in a year. Small farmers have been alienating from source of income and self respect due to this challenge.
Our Appeal for different national and international institutions and organizations 1. The government, donors and financial institutions (national and international) must provide subsidy and enabling policy environment in support of small women and men farmers. 2. Landless and small farmers who have been living around forest and whose livelihoods is depended on natural resources should be protected and ensure the farmers’ rights.
3. There must be mandatory curriculum from primary school to university to teach new generation and young people about the interrelationship between forest, farming and livelihoods 5. The World Food and Agriculture Organization should launch a campaign to prohibit commercial pressure on land by non farmers or corporate sectors. 5. There must be community-based land and forest governance instead of bureaucracy-led land and forest governance.
6. All actors, including government and international community must consider food sovereignty from the perspective of self reliance and autonomy of local farmers. 7. Agriculture should not be considered only as means for macro economic development instead it should consider as important means for i) food and nutrition security for all; and ii) self reliant livelihoods of people and substitution of food import.