Award-winning Nepalese farmers grow bananas to avert floods

Nepali farmer Bhoj Raj Paudel had just left home to visit his parents when a hill above it collapsed, destroying his ranch and a paddy field and flooding a swathe of land downstream.

The landslide was 19 years ago, but he remembers it vividly.

“I am happy my family survived but whatever I owned was gone forever,” the 53-year-old father of three told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Simalpani, a small town on the foothills of the Himalayas some 200 km (130 miles) west of Kathmandu.

Simpalpani and neighboring villages – which sit on a geological faultline – have been struck by 16 massive landslides over the last 50 years, aid workers said.

Rising global temperatures have shrunk Nepal’s glaciers, with meltwater forming lakes that flood regularly, causing widespread destruction.

But farmers clearing forests for agriculture are also to blame, experts say. About 80 percent of Nepal’s 28 million people rely on agriculture for their living, many using destructive traditional slash and burn techniques.

This article was originally posted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Read the full article: Award-winning Nepalese farmers grow bananas to avert floods