Market-based strategies to upscale organic fertilizer use in Nepal to achieve productivity, resilience, and the SDGs
Nepal’s current Agricultural Development Strategy recognizes the need to increase the levels of soil organic matter for productive and sustainable agriculture, and the important role commercial organic fertilizers can play in that process. It advocates for a gradual shift from chemical intensive to more sustainable farming systems; i.e. application of organic as well as balanced inorganic fertilizers to enable sustained levels of production without degrading the soil and environment. To date there has been limited use of commercial organic fertilizers in Nepal. However, recent research has confirmed that semi-organic fertilizer regimes increase yield and enterprises producing organic fertilizers and other soil improvers can be viable. Research has also shown that farmers will use such products if the quality and availability can be assured. This article analyses the situation in Nepal and proposes market-based strategies for policy makers to address the quality and availability issues so that organic matter markets can drive a transition to more productive, sustainable (agroecological), and inclusive agriculture, and thereby enable progress towards agriculture, nutrition, and poverty targets in the SDGs.