Post-disaster agricultural transitions in Nepal
J DiCarlo, Kathleen Epstein, R Marsh, I Maren
In Spring 2015, a series of earthquakes and aftershocks struck Nepal. The earthquakes caused significant changes in labor and land availability, cash income needs, and land quality. We examine how these post-earthquake impacts converged with ongoing agricultural shifts. Earthquake-related socio-economic and landscape changes specifically motivate the adoption of cardamom, Amomum subulatum, a high-value ecologically beneficial, and low labor commercial crop. We investigate reasons for the increased interest in cardamom post-earthquake, and challenges associated with it. We find that adopting cardamom serves as an important post-disaster adaptation. However, more broadly, unevenly distributed interventions coupled with the high capital costs of agricultural transition exacerbate social differentiation in communities after the disaster. Adoption is often limited to economically better off smallholder farmers. This paper extends previous research on disasters and smallholder farming by highlighting the specific potential of disasters to accelerate agricultural transitions and resulting inequality from the changes.
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