A grounded theory of food security in Nepal Surviving market fundamentalism Thesis Naresh Rimal.pdf (4.12 MB)

A grounded theory of food security in Nepal: Surviving market fundamentalism

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posted on 2023-11-03, 00:07 authored by Naresh Rimal
This research addresses lived experience of participants, recounted as story-webs about food security issues, in rural areas of Nepal. Story-web issues are contextualised within changing agricultural practices, aid intervention and systems change, and the future of agriculture. The meta-disciplinary approach integrates Grounded Theory (GT), Ethnography, and Systems Thinking (ST) for gathering, analysing, and presenting the data. Rural development intervention seldom considers antecedent knowledge in decision strategies regarding rural communities. The resulting discontinuities feed confusion regarding science and agricultural outreach in rural Nepal. Participants’ story-webs reveal biodiversity, agricultural industrialisation and social and cultural transformation as primary issues. For the participants, biodiversity reflects intergenerational socio-ecological experience. Exogenous understanding clashes with reflexive and experiential knowledge. Climate change provides an iconic example. Participants appear to have received this concept from outside their lived experience and thus lack functional comprehension which is revealed by their references to climate change in a deus ex machine1 manner. Similarly, participants experience market-based agriculture as ignoring their experience of socio-ecological resilience-grounded sustenance. Monoculture feeds chaotic descent into cultural and natural resource degradation and crop diseases, uncertainty, high cost and ecological crisis. Social and cultural transformation encourages reliance on external factors that ignore social capital’s foundational role in sustaining these communities for millennia. Participant communities’ nearly lost history of survival and hardship is replaced by questions like, ‘Can you help us?’, or ‘What can we do differently?’ and, ‘What would be our future?’ This reflects hopelessness and helplessness in the fog of development intervention. The intervention instigated to address poverty, instead created poverty through increased social change for ‘development.’ It replaced small scale agriculture by a ‘global’ sense of economy influenced by structural adjustment that influenced bureaucracy and politics. The significance of this inquiry offers substantive theories that can be contextualised at local, regional and international levels and contributes to debates on development and sustainability. Recommendation for the current situation in planning and policy-making is to avoid industrial agro-chemicals while embracing the use heirloom seeds. Refocussing towards mutually reinforcing ecological approaches such as multi-tiered agriculture can contribute positively to address biodiversity, alternative livelihood strategy and cultural growth from communities' long standing experience.



Central Queensland University

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I hereby grant to Central Queensland University or its agents the right to archive and to make available my thesis or dissertation in whole or in part through Central Queensland University’s Institutional Repository, ACQUIRE, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all copyright, including the right to use future works (such as articles or books), all or part of this thesis or dissertation.

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • No


Professor David Midmore ; Associate Professor Wendy Hillman

Thesis Type

  • Doctoral Thesis