Study on Socio-Economic factors leading to Open Agricultural Burning in Nepal

blog client



blog project period

Project Period

Nov 2016 to Jun 2017

blog project area

Project Area

Rupandehi, Nawalparasi and Kapilvastu in Nepal

Open agricultural burning refers to the regular and periodic burning of cultivated fields for the purpose of removing excess vegetation and crop residue cheaply and quickly. Since this practice leads to regional haze, winter fog and atmospheric pollution, it has adverse effects on climate change. ICIMOD has assigned S.W. Nepal Pvt Ltd to better understand the factors behind the farmers’ practice.


The objective of this study is to identify the socio-economic factors behind this escalating phenomenon and explore ways to limit or reverse its growth.
The study provides insights on the relation between migration, mechanization of agriculture and open burning practices. Through extensive consultations with farmers who burn as well as those who do not burn residue in the field, the study attempts to assess the impacts of burning in agriculture, human health and the local environment. Further, the study sheds light on the feminization of agriculture and the growing burning practice – how women as farmers make decisions, how much say they have in changing agricultural practices and how they cope with changes in residue use.

Services provided by SW Nepal

SW Nepal undertakes this exploratory study refining research methodologies, developing data collection tools with input from ICIMOD team and training enumerators to conduct field survey and field measurements. Qualitative and quantitative data are collected through questionnaire surveys, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and Focus Group Discussion (FGDs). Household Questionnaires are administered through the use of Open Data Kit (ODK) application on Android based smart phones or tablet devices. Furthermore, the study team takes field measurements to help estimate the amount of residue that is burned and used for various other purposes.

The specific questions that the research try seeks to respond are as follows:
• Why have farmers adopted the practice of open agricultural burning?
• At what rate the practice is being adopted?
• What quantities of agriculture residue are being burned as well as used for other purposes?