This paper highlights the scarcity of arable cropland in the hills and mountains of the Himalayan region. This is one of the factors leading to food insecurity and poverty. Technological interventions were applied in some areas to increase the amount of land available by making productive use of marginal areas. This has been supported by strong political commitment which facilitates a favorable policy environment for investment in technological research, enterprise, and infrastructure development. These experiences indicate a new thinking which advocates research into 'niche based' sustainable production systems on marginal lands as part of the solution to cropland scarcity. Better management of marginal land and improved livelihoods may result.