Riverbed Farming

Available land resources are scarce in the Tarai, but a land resource that has not been used in the past, or only to a minute extent, is dry riverbeds. As rivers leave the narrow valleys of the hills and enter the Tarai they spread out covering large tracks of land. As the speed of water flow reduces, silt is deposited in large quantities along riverbeds. During the dry season the water retreats from large areas and dry riverbeds remain during the time between October and May.

These dry riverbeds can be used by landless and landpoor households to cultivate fresh vegetables. They have been used in the past for agriculture and horticulture by a small community, mostly Indians coming from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, settling temporarily along rivers and cultivating vegetables. Yet the potential for riverbed farming are still very significant in the entire Tarai region. Appropriate cultivation techniques will allow households to sell fresh produce in the market at a time when supply of vegetables from regional agriculture is low. Like this families will be able to generate an income which will lift them well above poverty line.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: Prithvi Chan Hemram (45), Majhare-8, Morang

Mr. Hemram was landless and depended largely on daily wages and share cropping. None of his children attended school and he had the burden of a loan of NRs. 30,000 with an interest rate of 36%.


Case Study 4: Pano Devi Mukhiya, Bokraha-1, Siraha

Pano Devi Mukhiya, 35, resident of Bhokraha Village Development Committee ward no. 1, is an extremely poor woman. Her husband added insult to injury when he divorced Pano Devi and married another woman. She needed a company in order to ward off social stigma and increased vulnerability. Out of compulsion, then 25 years old Pano Devi chose to marry a 65-year-old man. The old man had 0.5 hectare of land. 



Riverbed Farming Alliance
c/o HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
GPO Box 688, Kathmandu/Nepal
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