National Agricultural Environment Research Centre

Introduction

NARC is an autonomous apex body at the national level to undertake appropriate agro-technologies suitable to various Agro-ecological Zones (AEZs) for the country’s diversified crops, livestock, fisheries, etc. The Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) was established in 1991 under the authority of Article No. 19 of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council Act, 2048 (1991).

National Agricultural Environment Research Centre which is under the Planning and Co-ordination Directorate of NARC, is a newly established institution to work support the agricultural environment related researchable issues.

Objective

  • To raise awareness and seek solutions of agriculture related environmental issues for ensuring a safe (minimizing the use of environment prone chemicals, pesticides, etc) and sustainable agricultural development.
  • To prepare policy guidelines for NARC in conformity with the national environmental policy of Nepal.
  • To promote the use of renewable natural resources to sustain agricultural growth and economic activity.
  • To assess and predict climate change and its impacts on agriculture and vis-à-vis.
  • To introduce system analysis in agriculture research and development using information technology tools like GIS, Simulation modeling, etc.

Current Research Activities

  • Regional collaborative research on the application of CO2 enrichment technology in rice.
  • Application of EM technology to increase efficiency of nutrient management on field crops.
  • Enabling activities for the preparation of initial national communication related to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • To prepare the inventory of meteorological database of different ecological belts of Nepal and analyze in relation to agriculture production system.
  • System approach to address the Rice-Wheat production system using simulation models.

1. Global Warming or Climate Change

Global warming is gradually becoming a concern to mankind. It is due to the atmospheric emission of several gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluro-carbons, etc. There has been much concern on its impact on the environment related to human health, agriculture, land, water and sea. This has resulted in the changes in concentration of atmospheric constituents such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and land surface cover and desertification and bio-diversity, etc. These have direct and indirect impact on human beings and the resources critical to their survival. Relationship between climate changes and agriculture is a particular importance as the world population and world food production showing imbalance and under pressure. The present research under way are attempted to study the impact of elevated CO2 on rice production system with varying affected temperature regimes in south Asia region. This will attempt the future prediction crop production at different elevation with projected CO2 elevation over time.

2. Natural Resources Management:

Our farming system constitutes major components of natural resources namely crops, livestock, forestry and water together. Agriculture is an intricate component of our rich natural resources. This can be renewable and can be made sustainable without taking from that share our future generation would need to use. But our natural resources are constantly threatened due to their indiscriminate mining. Sustainability can survive if these natural resources are managed properly and become renewable. If this mining becomes indiscriminate beyond the carrying capacity of the earth, that becomes prone to environment and will not make the agriculture sustainable. Promotion of nature farming will be the primary objective of the natural resource management.

3) Chemical Pollution

In the last decades the environmental problems in the farming system have received an increasing attention. It is argued that in the sustainable farming system, use of external inputs particularly the chemical components has to be reduced drastically and that these system have to integrate economic, environmental, ecological and landscape goals in a well balanced way, using the most appropriate production methods. Major agriculture related chemicals are pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Pesticide use in Nepal is heavily concentrated in areas that have greater access to market, such as Terai and the Kathmandu valley. There are as many indicators that pesticide use has been increasing in the past several years. This trend is likely to continue in future. The pesticides that tend to persist in the environment can cause serious impact on environment and ecology. Pesticide use is supposed to increase the agriculture production. But negative impacts do occur, especially if they are not used properly and judiciously. This has brought the chance to seriously endanger life and pollute the environment. Similarly, the excessive use of chemical fertilizers results in losses and environmental problems. There are several other factors for chemical pollution such as industrial waste, vehicles emission, domestic garbage’s, nuclear sites etc. These factors contain chemicals like lead, mercury, platinum, etc. are harmful to the agricultural production as well as human health. Therefore it is necessary to control these pollutants by using the best method such as neutralization methods or by replacing the toxic chemical pollutants by less or non-toxic substance. The potential replacing substances could be bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers. The study on EM technology at NARC advocates the use of different naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms. These help to act as a promoter of beneficial microflora in the soils acting as biofertilizer. They either enhance of the decomposition process or suppress the population of harmful micro-oganisms in the soil. They ultimately help to supplement the chemical fertilizers and will reduce the economic burden. They are low-cost, environment friendly and compatible with the nature.

4. Modeling and Simulation

Crop modeling enables researchers to integrate knowledge from different disciplines in a quantitative way. That, in turn, helps researchers to understand the underlying process that determine the behavior of complex agricultural systems. Mathematical models are caricatures of system made from mathematical equations. Integrating and solving the equations enables a numerical description of the system to be produced. During the first phase of a modeling exercise, the modeler seeks to give names, magnitudes and units to the component parts of the problem. In the second phase of modeling a problem is described as mathematical functions. In the final phase, ‘what if’ questions can be asked about the functioning of a system and numerical answers provided. Mathematical models that contain no clear logical link with the basic processes governing the relationship between the system inputs and outputs are unlikely to contribute much of significance to any debate concerning strategic decision in relation to research management. Agriculture Environment of NARC is using a computer software program called DSSAT v3.5 (Decision Support System for Agro-techology Transfer). The DSSAT v3.5 shell is also linked with Geographic Information System (GIS) to overlay the outputs of the model for graphic representation and analysis.

Researchers

  • Mr. Tika Ram Chapagain, Senior Scientist/Chief
  • Mr. Bishnu Prasad Paudel, Senior Scientist
  • Dr. Amit Prasad Timilsina, Scientist
  • Mr. Alok Sharma Technical Officer
  • Mr. Rameshwor Rimal, Technical Officer

Contact Address

National Agricultural Environment Research Centre
Nepal Agricultural Research Council,
Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal.
PO Box 3605, Kathmandu
Tel: +977-1-5535981 Fax: +977-1-5527695
Email: env@narc.gov.np
Website: www.narc.gov.np