There’s no two way that Nepal has huge potential for proper development on agriculture sector as it is known fact that Nepal is an agricultural country and has diversified land and topography, richly endowed in biodiversity and enormous natural resources with most part with fertile land. But the sad part is with all these aces on hand, Nepal’s import on agricultural goods is continuing to increase. If we see the import stat of the fiscal year 2019-2020 on agricultural goods, the import bills continue to expand, ballooning to an all-time high crossing Rs. 250 billion.
With all these situations on the plate of every Nepalese farmers and citizen, as all the countries around the globe, Nepal is badly affected by the havoc of corona. On one hand, some people are faced by the food insecurity problems whereas the others have become more concern about their health and eating habits creating a chaotic situation on both demand and supply side of the agricultural sector.
Analysing all these ongoing turbulent scenarios, many people have realized the importance of agriculture and food self-sufficiency within the country. The wave of organic farming has surrounded the atmosphere in the agriculture sector, addressing climate issues as well. There are so many ongoing debates on “Is organic farming worth it?” “Can organic farming bring sustainability and food self- sufficiency?” But there is not an answer as a perfect yes or no reminding the facts such as high production costs, low production, limited market as a result of import promoting policies by government, complicated certification process etc.
Similarly, with the green revolution, negative repercussions of chemical farming have greatly affected the soil health in Nepal and soil health is revived slowly and gradually which means organically it is impossible to return to its fertility in the short run.
Thus, the major shift towards organic farming without adequate knowledge and skills on organic farming by the farmers, lack of proper certification and marketing policies by the government side, lack of research on organic solutions for pest and disease management by researchers etc can aggravate the present situation.
Furthermore, considering the fact that traditional farming practices in Nepal are also organic by default, people’s increasing fascination towards agricultural sustainability and climate issues, negative consequences brought by the green revolution, consumer’s preference towards healthy living practices and overall awareness among nation’s citizen directs towards the greatest opportunity for the organic agriculture.
Having said that, for developing countries like Nepal where agricultural imports are continuing to increase annually, only organic farming may not quite be the ultimate solution, instead, it needs innovative and sustainable farming practices such as Integrated Nutrient and Pest Management on large scale farming, backyard gardening, vertical gardening, container gardening, hanging garden on the individual level.
Similarly, underexploited and minor indigenous crops, fruits and vegetables available in the locality with high nutritional value should also be given priority commercially which will add to food self-sufficient strategies.
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Lamjung
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