Agriculture is one of the important livelihood sector in the HKH region and provides a substantial proportion of rural income and employment opportunities to its 210 million inhabitants. In Nepal, two third of total population depends on agriculture for their subsistence and more than one third of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from Agriculture sector. Ensuring effective agriculture production across the country has been a serious challenge due to high degree of spatial and temporal climate variability, irrigated and rain fed agriculture systems coupled with farmer’s fragile social and economic fabric and unique mountain practices.
ICIMOD is implementing the SERVIR Himalaya initiative supported by NASA and USAID which aims to improve environmental management and resilience to climate change by strengthening the capacity of governments and other key stakeholders to integrate earth observations and geospatial technologies into decision making for sustainable development. Presently the SERVIR-Himalaya and the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) are working together in operationalizing use of Remote Sensing and GIS in agriculture monitoring. In an effort to develop a comprehensive information system on agriculture monitoring and food security, spatially explicit agricultural records of long periods are being compiled into database and user friendly web applications are being developed for its dissemination.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development, regularly produces statistics on comprehensive parameters related to national level food security which is disseminated through print copies as well as e-copy to its users. The digital agriculture atlas replace the conventional dissemination and makes it available easily through the internet to the large audiences. Digital agriculture atlas of Nepal provides free access to vital information for agriculture planning, research and overall economic development of the country. It covers vast issues including statistics on cereal crops, cash crops, legume, vegetables, fruits and livestock. The atlas is organized with maps and diagrams based on statistical information on Nepalese Agriculture regularly produced by the Ministry and other relevant sources like National Planning Commission, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and Department of Irrigation etc. The web-GIS based Atlas enables users to geographically visualize the information contained in the database by producing customized maps that may also demonstrate the connections between several food security indicators.
The application uses district based statistics on various agriculture products such as crops, legumes, fruits and livestock published by Ministry of Agriculture. The population, household number and area of districts shown in District Agriculture Profile section of the application have been used from Nepal’s Census 2011 as published by CBS. Likewise, district’s elevation range information shown in the same section have been derived from global Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) 90m Digital Elevation Model dataset.
The Agriculture Atlas section of the application allows visualization of district based agriculture statistics for any given agriculture product in the form of map atlas. The statistics can be viewed for different years using the time slider tool. Further, the user can specify number of classes and classification method to view the map accordingly. The District Profile section of the application allows viewing of agriculture statistics for any given district in the form of chart. The user can view chart of multiple agriculture products for any given product type (e.g. cereal, cash crop, etc.) for different years. Alternatively, the user can view the time series statistics of an individual agriculture product.