Publication Information


Indigenous Tea (Camellia sinensis) Farming in Ilam district: Viable source of sustainable livelihood in the eastern hills of Nepal


Santosh KC

About 5.4% of total cultivated land is occupied by indigenous agroforestry practices with tea in Ilam (one of the eastern regions of Himalayan country, Nepal). Tea is taken as self-dependent cash crop in agroforestry practice in Ilam and is found as the most important example of the long term sustainable farming. The practice brings tea, timber, fodder, firewood, a fruit, vegetables, herbs and animals in same piece of land in different spatial manner is known as agrisilvipastoral system. A sustainable biological phenomenon is maintained in soil horizons due to the contribution of components. Intercropping in tea for five years gives adequate quantity of vegetables for domestic and marketing purposes and controls soil erosion. After the period when system dynamics change, recycling of nutrients are done through pruning the tea bushes by leaving the leaves on the ground and thick stems are used for firewood. Some of the legumes and vegetables intercropped in the farming add nitrogen in the soil, the element highly required by the tea plant. These crops cover the soil and always keep it moist, acting like mulch beneath the tea plants. However weed effect on tea plantations is a major problem, but the farmers manage it by removing them and feeding to animals. The manure produced by livestock is used on the cultivation area which recycles the nutrients in the soil. The branches of fodder and trees are used as firewood fuel for home energy consumption. The several years practices of tea in this area indicate its stability. Mature tea areas have good canopy cover as well as shade trees planted in tea areas to control soil erosion and surface run off.


tea farming, indigenous tea farming, Camellia sinensis, agroforestry, intercropping, Nepal
PDF icon Ilam tea case study.pdf583.48 KB


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