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Kaule – agroforestation in Nepal  

Since March 2009, action five has been supporting an agriculture project in Nepal.
Nepal is located between the two major powers of India and China, and stretches out along the southern part of the Himalayan massif. The village of Kaule is situated in the centre of Nepal in the administrative district of Okharpuwa.
Its inhabitants live from agriculture. They primarily farm on a monoculture basis and on small artificial terraces. Terrace cultivation in its current form causes severe ecological problems such as earth erosion, water pollution and a decline in biodiversity. Infestations of pests, a problem exacerbated by the harvesting of monoculture crops, as well as the smallness of the terraces, mean that a farmer’s income is very low.
As early as 1994, a Nepalese biologist offered Kaule farmers material and training courses in so-called agroforestation. Agroforestation is an alternative system based on the mixed cultivation of crops specific to the region. An agroforestation farm is home to a large number of different plant species, including food plants, medicinal plants and plants used for religious purposes, as well as various species of tree. Agroforestation is a largely forgotten, traditional system of cultivation that is currently being reintroduced in many parts of the world.
It maintains biodiversity and allows farmers to harvest different crops throughout the year. In addition, an infestation by pests does not destroy the whole harvest. After a transition period lasting around three years, a stable cultivation system can be established and higher yields can be achieved, thus increasing the income and improving the quality of life for the farmers.
Back then, one farmer, Jush Ram Tamang, and his family stuck with the new system until it ran by itself. They are still using the agroforestation system and now have a significantly higher income than their neighbours. Their eldest daughter is able to study at the university in Kathmandu.
Seeing the success of their neighbour, the other farmers are now highly motivated to use this method themselves in the future. With the Kaule project, the German organisation Kaule e.V. wants to make this possible for them. Led by Alina Schick, a student of agricultural sciences who will use the results of the project in her thesis, fifteen farmers will now take part in the project across a total of 3.5 hectares of land. For this, they require materials and training, to be provided by local cooperation partners. The aim is to help the farmers to help themselves and, in the long term, to convince more farmers in neighbouring areas to switch to the new cultivation methods.
The current participants in the project are not meant to be seen as role models, but should play an active part in passing on their knowledge and experience.
The Kaule project has been set up to run for three years. action five is supporting it in the first year to the tune of EUR 2,800. Any further support will depend on how the project develops and how successful it turns out to be.

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