In order to better understand the state of mountain agriculture, this article analyzes trends for 3 integral components of mountain farming systems—production of foodgrain crops, horticultural and cash crops, and livestock—using time series data published by national governments in 5 Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) countries. Results show that, although the area under foodgrain crops has not increased, their yields have not declined as much as is often perceived. In some cases, crop productivity has increased. This evidently implies that mountain farmers are maintaining productivity of foodgrain crops for food security reasons. Results also suggest increasing trends in crop diversification toward horticultural and cash crops. Present trends in rapid expansion of areas under these crops indicate the growing importance of horticultural and cash crops in mountain farming systems and the household economy across the Hindu Kush-Himalaya. These trends have positive implications for the future development of mountain agriculture in terms of harnessing mountain niches and comparative advantages. In the livestock sector, there is a general decline in the cattle population across the HKH. Trends indicate the possibility of greater development of smallholder dairies with improved buffaloes in the Himalayan subtropics. The number of stall-fed buffaloes and goats is rising with increased use of external inputs and purchased feed, thus contributing positively to food security and nutrition in mountain households.
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