SECURING FAMILY NUTRITION THROUGH PROMOTION OF HOME GARDENS: UNDERUTILIZED PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN NEPAL
More than 95% of the diet in Nepal is supplied through plant species. Home gardens, employing traditional land-use systems but underutilized production systems, are the major sources for supplying such diversified food. These are also rich in species diversity. Many uncultivated and underutilized species supplying dietary diversity and micro-nutrients are found in such gardens. Baseline study carried out in four ecologically and socio-economically diverse sites of Nepal revealed that contribution of fruit and vegetables to the total meal of a household is about 44%. Home gardens supply 60% of the households total fruit and vegetable consumption. Yet, these gardens are not fully developed in structure and function to maximize their potential in catering to demands of households. To identify the actual gap in supply of different nutrition-rich species in home gardens, nutritional calendars were developed for each eco-site of Ilam and Jhapa to represent Eastern hill and plains regions respectively, and Gulmi and Rupandehi of Western hill and plains regions respectively. Baseline survey and situation analysis of the project sites have come up with an inventory of plant species available in home gardens. The availability of different nutrients from the species grown in the home gardens were estimated through literature review. Distribution of the species over the year in all four sites were identified. Nutritional calendars were derived from the data on nutrition availability and distribution of the species. Nutritional calendar provided the basic information on the status of home gardens with respect to the availability of diversified diets in different agro-ecology and socio-economic settings. Nutritional gap analysis, farmers demand and ecological suitability are the basis to determine the composition of diversity kits for improved home gardens. Awareness raising, local food diversification, and promotion of diversity kits in home gardens are important strategies for improving family nutrition of rural poor households.
Gautam, R., Suwal, R. and Sthapit, B.R. (2009). SECURING FAMILY NUTRITION THROUGH PROMOTION OF HOME GARDENS: UNDERUTILIZED PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN NEPAL. Acta Hortic. 806, 99-106
species diversity, dietary diversity, nutritional calendar, diversity kit