Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


Last summer, Nepal’s Terai region experienced some of the worst flooding in recent memory. Climate change is expected to increase the number of natural disasters that Nepal experiences in coming years, and more vulnerable demographics will be more adversely affected. Fish farming is a highly profitable and slowly growing industry based primarily in the Terai, that many believe is less vulnerable to climate-related risks than conventional forms of agriculture, and thus a possible livelihood adaptation strategy. In this study, I conducted semi-structured interviews with ten farmers in Madi, Chitwan, to understand the daily challenges and threats to fish farming, the impact of recent flooding, and the degree to which farmers are adapting to the threat of future flooding. I was also eager to understand how traditional gender roles may render women fish farmers more vulnerable to risks. The core findings of this study are that most fish farmers perceive a variety of risks—from wild animals, de-oxygenation, lack of roads or electricity at pond sites, flooding, and lack of government support for aquaculture. The impact of the flooding on farmers’ fish ponds depended on proximity to the Rue River, suggesting that even within a small community, climate-risks may affect households differently. This exploratory study contributes to a relatively new and small field of work considering climate-related risks in addition to political, economic, social, and structural risks in the context of a specific agricultural industry.


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Asian Studies | Environmental Studies | Other Life Sciences | Women's Studies


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