«His Majesty's Government Ministry of Population and Environment Kathmandu, Nepal June 2000 Ministry of Population and Environment 1 State of the ...»
Land degradation has also negated farm production. Realising this problem, farmers are shifting from traditional organic farming to chemical farming. Efforts are therefore underway to regulate the use of pesticides through the Pesticide Act, 1991 and Pesticide Rules, 1993. Similarly, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been introduced in order to minimise impacts on the agricultural environment. In commercial farming the national average consumption rate of pesticides was estimated to be 650 g/ha. Misuse a overuse are the two distinct routes of pesticide nd pollution. Pesticide residues have been detected in rice, wheat, and pulse grains in godowns and even in milk. In 1997, the Pesticides Registration Office at Department of Agriculture estimated that about 60 metric tons of different pesticides have been imported into Nepal. More than 50 metric tons of obsolete pesticides of hazardous nature, albeit persistent, are yet to be disposed off.
2.10.2 Mineral Fertilisers
Mineral fertilisers were first introduced into Nepal in 1952. In 1954 fertiliser consumption was 10 tons, and by 1965 it had increased to about 1,500 tons. It was only in 1965/66, with the establishment of Agriculture Inputs Corporation (AIC), then known as Agriculture Inputs Supply Corporation, that organised supply of fertilisers actually began in Nepal. AIC began its fertiliser trade operation with 3,196 tons of fertilisers received as aid from India (2,169 tons) and the former Soviet Union (1,000 units). Most of this (2,500 tons) was ammonium sulphate (21% N). In the FY 1965/66, the amount of fertilisers sold was 2,069 tons. Sale of fertilisers at that time was mostly confined to the Central Development Region, mostly around Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding hills, and the Birganj area of Bara, and Parsa districts in the Terai region. The consumption of mineral fertilisers increased from a mere 2,069 tons (451 tons N, P 2O5 and K 2O) in 1965/66 to 185,797 tons (90,277 tons N, P 2O5 and K 2O) in 1994/95 (Figure 8). However, fertiliser usage is still very low in Nepal. As a result, the maximum national average consumption of fertiliser nutrient (in terms of N, P2O5 and K2O) in Nepal was about 35 kg/ha/annum in 1994/95, which is Ministry of Population and Environment 62 State of the Environment Report, 2000 the lowest after Bhutan in the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) region. Fertiliser consumption has actually declined in recent years against the projected plan of increase. The Eighth Plan (1992-97) sought to raise the overall average fertiliser nutrients use from 31 to 83 kg/ha/annum. Given this scenario, the APP fertiliser nutrient use target of 150 kg/ha/annum by the year 2015 seems doubtful, though not impossible. It would, however, require strong commitment by the government as well as concerned public and private sectors (ESCAP/FAO/UNIDO, 1998).
There has been no domestic production of any fertiliser in Nepal. All fertiliser requirements are met through imports. Until recently (1996/97), AIC had monopoly over fertiliser imports, including fertilisers received as aid, grant or purchases under loan. The quantities of fertilisers imported over the past 30 years in terms of nutrient weight are given in the following figure. Recently, HMG has introduced a policy to involve the private sector in supplying the fertiliser. HMG has also issued a Fertiliser Order in order to ensure the supply of quality fertilisers to the farmers (Box 2.4).
His Majesty's Government of Nepal has issued the Fertiliser (Control) Order, 1999 under which the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has the sole authority to execute the order. No person shall produce, import or distribute fertiliser which does not comply with the order.
The Fertilizer Order is aimed to supply quality fertilisers to farmers. A Fertiliser Advisory Board has been conceived in the Order in order to advise the MOA in the formulation of policies, priorities, specifications, quality control and statistics. A Fertiliser Unit is in operation in MOA to regularise and control the production, import and sale of fertiliser in Nepal.
The interdependency among the three rural subsectors - farming, animal husbandry and forestry - is unique in the Nepalese hill farming system.
Livestock contributes 31 per cent of the total agricultural GDP. It also provides farmyard manure/compost to farmland for maintaining soil fertility and draught power. Estimates indicate about 6.237 million livestock, 3.073 million buffaloes, 5.452 million goats, 0.911 million sheep and 0.605 million pigs in the year 1992/93. In 1999, livestock population has been estimated at 34 million. Over half of them are reared in hills, and one third in Terai.
There is an increasing trend to rear livestock, except cattle. Livestock density has increased from 5.95/ha in 1981/82 to 7.4/ha in 1991/92. The production of meat, milk and milk products, and egg has substantially increased from 117.1 thousand mt., 711.5 thousand mt., and 219.6 million (number), respectively in 1982/83 to 185 thousand mt., 1072 thousand mt, and 440 million (number) in 1998/99 (MOF, 1999).
Meat production in FY 1997/98 increased by 3.677 per cent more in comparison to FY 1996/97 and reached 1,80,675 mt. Milk production in FY 1997/98 was 10,48,040 mt, an increase of 3.545 per cent as compared to the previous year. Likewise, egg and fish production both show an upward trend as compared to previous fiscal years. Eggs have increased by 4.615 per cent and fish by 7.181 per cent (MOF, 1999).
Estimates indicate that about three-quarters of all households keep cattle, while half of them keep buffaloes, goats and p oultry. The number of livestock kept on farms has a negative association with the size of Ministry of Population and Environment 64 State of the Environment Report, 2000 holdings. Very small farmers cannot meet the fodder and forage requirements of their animals, resulting in the decline in livestock products.
Thus, pressure on public forests and pastures is increasing in most parts of the country. However, this sector is growing fast. The Agricultural Perspective Plan (APP) argues that the growth rate of the livestock will increase from 2.9 per cent at the base period of the Plan to 6.1 per cent at the end of Plan, i.e., 2015 AD (APROSC and JMA, 1995).
Livestock production is dependent on the quality of forests and grazing lands. Open and over-grazing have contributed to land degradation.
Uplanders repeatedly graze many of the pasture land in the mountains during winter season, while lowlanders do the same during the summer season. There are also unproductive livestock, which freely graze in the forestlands. In sum, the degradation of the land system and increase in the soil loss due to livestock pressure is clearly visible.
Fish is a major source of protein. In the early 1990s the per capita consumption of fish was about 800 grams. Its production significantly increased from 4.3 thousand mt in 1982/83 to 24.86 thousand mt in 1998/99. Both pond and cage fisheries have been introduced in the Terai and the lakes. Cage fisheries have also been developed in major lakes and reservoirs such as Phewa Lake, Rupa and Beganas lakes, and Kulekhani hydropower reservoir. Estimates indicate that 19.8 per cent of the total lakes and 14.7 per cent of the total reservoirs are used for fish development activities. Farmers also practice fish raising in village ponds and irrigated paddy fields.
Fish production is sometimes hampered by high flood and sediment deposition in the ponds and the reservoirs. Discharge of untreated industrial effluents has also affected the fish population in natural water bodies. Increasing physical and chemical pollution in water bodies is a major concern for sustainable development of this sector.
In sum, agriculture will continue being one of the major sectors in Nepal's national economy. However, Nepal has become a food grain deficit country since the 1970s. The yield rate of most o the cereal crops is on the f declining trend, primarily, due to loss of nutrient rich topsoil. Another factor may be the disproportionate use of agro-inputs such as chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Livestock production is also increasing at the cost of land degradation. This phenomenon is visible in the Middle Mountains. The problems of fodder, inferior breeds of crops and livestock, low yields and a Ministry of Population and Environment 65 State of the Environment Report, 2000 poor extension base are still significant. The recently implemented APP has emphasised irrigation, technology and fertiliser input, including a few high value commodities to accelerate the growth of farm products. The APP is designed to accelerate agricultural growth rate from about 3 per cent to 5 per cent per annum and achieve a six-fold increase in the growth of agricultural output per capita from the insignificant growth rate of 0.5 per cent to a rapid 3 per cent (APROSC and JMA, 1995). It also focuses on the growth of livestock sector and indigenous techniques of organic farming, including plant nutrient management. Although, species diversity in agriculture sector prevails, people tend to use only the high-yielding varieties.
The interdependency of agriculture, livestock and forestry has to be closely looked into in order to minimise land and forest degradation. It will help to increase land productivity and reduce the number of unproductive livestock. Efforts should also be made to promote the use of organic fertilisers and strengthen integrated pest management.
2. 11 Culture and Tourism 2.11.1 Cultural Heritage Globally, Nepal is recognised as a country with rich cultural heritage. A long and complex link exists between human development culture and values.
Heritage sites are of immediate aesthetic, architectural, historical or social significance. A management framework for its preservation must invariably accompany the building of a monument. Our ancestors not only built monuments, but also left behind a tradition of maintaining them through a system of 'Guthi' (trust), which performs socio-religious, cultural and educational activities. To perpetuate this system, founders voluntarily donated, either in cash or in kind, thereby enabling a regular upkeep of the monuments and other rituals and functions. In essence, the cultural continuity at local level is highlighted by 'Guthis'.
An inventory of heritage sites carried out in 1975 categorised 29 historical settlements, and 34 monumental zones in the rural areas. Cultural sites of immense importance have also been identified. During the process of becoming a party to the World Heritage Convention, Nepal listed seven cultural sites of universal importance in the World Heritage List in 1979.
These sites are: Bhaktapur, Patan and Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Squares, Swyambhunath, Bauddhanath, Pashupatinath, and Changu Narayan.
Recently, Lumbini - the birthplace of Lord Buddha has also been included in the list.
Ministry of Population and Environment 66 State of the Environment Report, 2000 A guideline for the identification, monitoring and management of heritage sites as well as a database has been developed. Over 1,250 heritage sites have been documented from 72 districts outside Kathmandu Valley. The Valley is also a repository of heritage sites of cultural importance as over 1,000 ancient monuments are scattered around it. Out of this, 888 monuments have been considered nationally important (CCNCR, 1990).
HMG is committed to continuing the promotion of the traditional system of heritage management. Albeit, the conservation of national cultural and natural heritage sites is beyond the scope of the local Guthis, however, HMG institutions are involved in developing and implementing policies and programmes for their conservation.
In recent years these cultural sites, historical monuments and religious shrines have come under greater pressure, through a continuous process of encroachment and poor maintenance. For instance, the Buddha Stupa in Kathmandu suffered from increasing population pressure surrounding the Stupa. Cultural heritage is also facing challenges from different aspects of modern life. It is simultaneously threatened by nature, time and people.
The fragility and vulnerability of cultural heritage is so pronounced that every year many important monuments are either defaced or encroached upon by unauthorised activities.
Nepal's numerous sites of cultural and natural interest has attracted tourists. Tourists visiting Nepal are broadly of two categories - pilgrims and nature lovers. Pilgrimages are limited to urban and semi-urban areas, while nature-adventuring tourists prefer the hills, mountains and wilderness. In the late 1950s, only two thousand tourists visited Nepal. The number of tourists reached to 223,000 in 1986 and over 422,000 in 1998. The annual change in tourist arrival is over 10 per cent, except between 1987 to 1990 (MOTCA, 1997). However, the percentage of Indian tourists prevails high.
Over 50 per cent of the tourists visit Nepal for holidays and pleasure, followed by over 20 per cent for trekking. Accordingly, tourism development facilities are also on the increase. The number of hotels has increased from 110 in 1986 to over 700 in 1998 with a corresponding increase in rooms.
Over 60 per cent of this capacity lie within the Kathmandu Valley, with a considerable number of high standard hotels. The number of beds has also increased three times, from about 7,000 to 27,000, during the same period.
The actual air seat has increased significantly as Nepal observed Visit Nepal in 1998. Similar growth has been recorded in the increase of travel,
Tourism is one of the major sources of revenue in Nepal. The gross foreign exchange earning has increased from Rs. 2735.3 million in 1986 to Rs.