Agrarian Future(s) of Rural Nepal: Revitalizing peasant agriculture?

Ramesh Sunam, Keshab Goutam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Discourses on peasant agriculture have heightened in the context of recurrent food crisis and persistent poverty in Nepal as in many parts of the global South. Although an industrialized model of agriculture has been promoted as a pathway to a food-secure future, it has been heavily criticized for being environmentally destructive and socially unbearable. In this broader context, we examine peasant farming to explore enabling factors and barriers for its revitalization in Nepal, where the vast majority of rural people depends on farming for their livelihoods. This research draws on case studies of two agrarian villages characterized mainly by the subsistence nature of farming systems, but with one of them having significant prospects for commercial agriculture. While scholars are increasingly acknowledging peasant agriculture as a viable approach to ensure food security and a sustainable future, this article shows that peasants are unlikely to continue such practices given the local and global challenges created by outmigration of laborers, neoliberal policy of the government, and diminished attraction of farming to young people. We suggest that these challenges should be addressed through reframing agricultural discourse and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Food sovereignty
  • Land
  • Migration
  • Nepal
  • Peasant farming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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