Mustang, 23 June 2016
Inhabitants of Mustang have been observing decreased snowfall for the last four years. The entire high hills and mountains used to be covered by snow from October to March. But there is no certainty of snowfall these days in Mustang. Sometimes they observe snowfall in September. This winter snowfall was low even in the peak season from mid December to February.
The livelihood of locals mostly relying on the agriculture is now shifting. “Earlier we had snowfall from October to March. Now sometimes it is in September, we cannot predict the snow pattern in these days.” said Binod Thakali, Mukhiya (local leader) of Marpha VDC-9 Chhairo.
Mustang is well-known in Nepal for the production of apples but this crop is also changing its production cycle. The apple blossom appears earlier than before. “The production pocket areas were at low altitude of Mustang but it is moving upwards now. Potato, the second well known product of the district is also facing the attack of several insects and diseases,” Thakali explained. On the other side some unused land is now accepting the variety of crops.
Rainfall pattern has also shifted in Mustang, the district that observed one of the lowest rainfalls even in monsoon season. They used to observe continuous light rainfall for a long time but now they are witnessing heavy rainfall within a short timeframe affecting the living style of locals. The traditional houses constructed by mud were resistant to such light rainfall, but they are now unable to protect the locals from heavy rainfall. Life becomes difficult day by day as they have to cope with those uncertainties. The incident of flood in Kali Gandaki has also been increased.
Livestock is another important identity of Mustang district which is now under serious threat. The farmers mostly relying on the income of livestock are now in trouble as their cattle are being frequently attacked by wild animals. Within the last two years, about four dozen domestic animals were killed by wild animal attacks in Marpha VDC only. The situation is almost the same in other villages. “I lost five goats, one calf, and some chickens in last two years, it is difficult for us to survive from this profession,” said Til Kumari Biswokarma, resident of Marpha VDC. According to locals the incidents of human-wildlife conflict have increased as wild animals, mostly the Leopards in the high hills, are not getting food in nearby forest areas.
These are some of the impacts of climate change in the district. To discuss these local problems and to find out the adaptation measures, the local planners, representative from non-governmental organizations, representative from private sectors, media people had gathered in district headquarters for an intensive training from May 17 to 22. This training session on Climate Change and Community-based Adaptation was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Population (MoPE) under the project Mainstreaming Climate Change Risk Management in Development with financial support from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) and managed by Asian Development Bank (ADB), locally hosted by District Development Committee (DDC) Mustang. During six days, the local planners learned in-depth information about climate change, its impact in various sectors, national/international efforts to combat climate change, vulnerability assessment, steps adaptation planning and many others. The trainers from the service providing organization imparted the basic skills of adaptation planning and integration of such plan to district level development plan and facilitated dynamic discussions between participants about how these issues were having an impact in Mustang and what needed to be done.
The program was facilitated by the consortium of four organizations lead by Rupantaran Nepal consisting SAMUHIK AVIYAN, NAVIN and NEFEJ. The session was part of district training on climate change and community based adaptation planning phase II. Among planned 30 district, it was 29th such session.
On the fifth day of the session, the participants visited Marpha VDC and demonstrate the learning of the session by preparing local level adaptation plan. The mountain district has 18 VDCs with local adaptation programmers.
The training was participated by 26 people including 12 female participants.