Effectiveness of Gravity Goods Ropeways in market participation of smallholder farmers in uplands

  • Diwakar KCEmail author
  • Tek Maraseni
  • Chubamenla Jamir
  • Ritendra Thapa Magar
  • Florencia Tuladhar


Isolated from the market due to harsh terrain, low farm productivity and poor road connectivity, the majority of farmers in the upland region of Nepal practice subsistence farming characterized by abject poverty. This study investigates whether Gravity Goods Ropeway (GGR) improves market participation and livelihood of smallholder farmers in uplands. 113 households’ surveys, 6 focus group discussions, and 39 key informant interviews were conducted in 3 upland villages of Nepal. The before–after analysis was applied to examine the impact of GGR. With reduced average travel time to end market by 57% (p < 0.05), the farmers were able to transport high-quality products directly to small-scale (retailers and consumer) and large-scale (wholesaler) buyers eliminating the role of intermediaries. Additionally, GGR significantly reduced transportation cost by 43% (p < 0.05), post-harvest loss by 39% (p < 0.05), and time for information search enabling farmers to dictate and capture higher share in final selling price. The average quantity of high-value crops (vegetable) supplied to the output market (84%), farm income (84%) and food expenditure (31%) increased significantly (p < 0.05) fulfilling the food needs of upland farmers for the entire year through the increased purchase of rice, pulses and processed food. Unlike the output market, the farmers’ participation in purchasing fertilizer, seeds and other equipment in the input market remained low as they continued to rely on traditional methods because of low cost and local applicability. Therefore, GGR could be one of the suitable technology for upland of Nepal. However, further research is required focusing on the financial (cost/benefit) aspect, a possibility of improving the technology and operation mechanism which will genuinely justify that GGR is a suitable technology in mountain regions of Nepal and elsewhere with similar topographic conditions.


Gravity Goods Ropeways Smallholder farmers Market participation Travel time 



We want to extend our sincerest thanks to Global food Center for Food System Innovation at Michigan State University for funding this research. We are grateful to the TERI School of Advanced Studies for facilitating the study. Our sincere gratitude to Practical Action Nepal for providing access to the study areas. We extend our appreciation to the local communities and all the respondents in the study areas for their enthusiasm in sharing their knowledge and experiences on GGR.

Author’s contribution

KCD: Methodology design, data collection and field survey, literature survey, data analysis, and manuscript writing; TM: analysis, manuscript writing, and editing; CJ: Methodology design, analysis and content planning; RTM: Methodology design, literature survey, and finalization of questionnaires; FT: literature survey, analysis, and mapping.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Institute of Agriculture and the EnvironmentUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Energy and EnvironmentTERI School of Advanced StudiesNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Department of International StudiesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  5. 5.Department of Civil and Geomatics EngineeringKathmandu UniversityDhulikhelNepal

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