Mountain agriculture is bio-diverse and dominated by women farmers. The fields are terraced and crops grown are determined by micro site specific characteristics of altitude, aspect and soil. Fields of individual owners are generally small and fragmented. Agriculture is largely rain-fed with some irrigation in valleys through guhls or small canals using gravity to bring in water from rivers and streams.
Current Challenges in mountain agriculture:
- Migration from villages and agriculture is increasing and interest in agriculture is reducing in many villages.
- Agriculture is getting impacted by ingress of wild animals onto agriculture fields and destruction of crops.
- Uncertain weather conditions due to climate change impacting hard traditional agricultural practices.
- Gennext of farmers finding agriculture less attractive and perceive it as unable to fulfill their aspirations.
- Efforts to conserve the agricultural biodiversity characteristic of mountain agriculture through conservation and multiplication of seeds, adding value to traditional produce, promoting markets for mountain produce to increase incomes.
- Promoting organic farming through on-farm organic inputs and agriculture practices promoting productivity while maintaining soil health.
- Supporting young farmers in agriculture through interactions and programmes which help them become better farmers and agri-entrepreneurs.
- Reducing drudgery in agriculture by promoting new machines, improved equipment & tools and practices.