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Maize terraces in the mid-hills of Nepal | by CIMMYT
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Maize terraces in the mid-hills of Nepal

A typical landscape view of maize terraces in the remote, cloud-shrouded mid-hills of eastern Nepal.


Anywhere else, peaks above 3,000 meters would be called "mountains," but a nation whose collective psyche has been shaped by the towering Himalayas refers to its rugged heartland as merely the "mid-hills." Comprising deep river valleys and high ridge tops, peppered toward the north with sloping farm terraces, the mid-hills account for more than four-tenths of Nepal's total land area. They are home to isolated villages whose inhabitants' lives hold strongly to tradition.


Here the staple food for centuries has been maize but many farmers in the region cannot grow enough to last the year. Their needs have provided a focus for collaboration between CIMMYT, the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), and other partners in the Hill Maize Research Program (HMRP), which promotes the development and adoption of new technologies, including improved varieties and crop management techniques, in the hills of Nepal.


According to a report released in 2010, more than two decades of joint efforts between researchers from Nepal and CIMMYT have helped boost the country's maize yields 36% and those of wheat by 85%. As a result, farmers even in the country's remote, mid-hill mountain areas have more food and brighter futures.


Photo credit: D. Mowbray/CIMMYT.


For more on CIMMYT's relationship with Nepal, see the following:

2010 e-news, "Nepal-CIMMYT partnerships reach the unreached":

2006 e-news, "People of the Clouds":

Nepal-related stories on CIMMYT's blog:


Farmer Bishnu Maya of the Nepali mid-hills appears as one of three women discussing their lives as maize farmers on the CIMMYT video "Maize for Life", available at:

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Taken on August 6, 2006