Analysis

How agriculture can revitalize Nepali economy?

Santosh Khadka

Global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic spread like wildfire leaving no countries secure. It has crashed world’s economy and healthcare system, leaving even a developed county helpless. It has destroyed agriculture production and supply chain. Once busy economic activities: tourism, entertainment, education, real-estate market, transportation have ceased. It has given leave to the people from their busyness. Not only this, it also has put people to death.

The effects on agriculture created by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown are a legion. Mainly, two types of problems are seen: delivery of agricultural product from farm to the market and input supply from the market to the farm. We are more focused on the first one but neglecting the second has a great chance of creating an agricultural recession in the long-term. We are only talking about the consumer’s right to get food but not the farmer’s right to produce. Here, consumes need to get fulfilled by the farmer so, we must also be concerned with the production of foodstuff.

Talking about the first problem, i.e. problem in delivery of agricultural product from farm to market: less marketing opportunity for rural farmers, especially creating vulnerabilities for perishable goods like vegetables, milk, poultry, fish, etc. equally to fulfill the shortage of food in the city, government is importing from India and selling in high price tag. Here, consumers are forced to pay the high price which has reduced the purchasing power of Nepali consumer and the rural farmers produced crops are being destroyed in the field. To solve this problem, local government should move forward and take action like making collection centers in the ward level, fixing a certain price, and supplying to cities. This will rectify the one problem of the farmer and give some relief.

The second problem seems, delivery disruption of inputs like seed, pesticides, farm machine repair instruments, etc. from the market to the farm. And With this, I have seen many other problems as havoc in my working like American Fall Armyworm in maize, Set of insects and diseases in potato-like blight, Aphid, White grub, Red ant, Viruses, etc., Chinese citrus fruit fly in  Sweet orange are seen as havoc, etc. The management of these problems is utmost, If not controlled in time this could lead to famine in near future. Meanwhile, due to associated lockdown, we are unable to provide technical support to the farmer.

In the past, our poultry business was affected by Diseases like bird flu, fluctuating market price, etc. and at present rumor is destroying the poultry sector. If no step is taken to stop this rumor, this will create great losses and discourages the farmers.

We have a remittance and tourism-based economic system. But, due to this COVID-19 pandemic both are stopped. Surely, we must spend many years to revitalize the tourism and remittance based economy of Nepal.

But on the other hand, it is the best time to become self-reliant on Agriculture and make an agriculture-based economy. Agriculture remains Nepal’s principal economic activity, employing about 65% of the population and contributes 27% to the national GDP. Contribution by this sector to National GDP is much less as compared to people involved in it. But the new generation is infatuated towards the service sector, abroad job, and business. This may result in decreasing the number of people involving in agriculture and less contribution to the National GDP.

It is certain that not only amid pandemic but also with the end of the pandemic we will not get tourists for many years, unemployment will increase, the business sector will hamper, and there will be the need for an alternative. If we pursue agriculture as an alternative, it will be a milestone to return the damaged economic system.

Most of the people from Abroad and cities are returned to their home and pandemic has given a great lesson of No other place is better than home. That’s why; it is the best time to make the foundation of Commercial and Modern Agriculture. If the youth are stopped at home and started cultivating land both the economic status of individuals and nation will rise.

 

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Image credit: IRRI/B.Bouman

For this, revitalizing rural agriculture is the best way to become self-reliant on agriculture and go for sustainability. We have lots of agricultural innovation in village areas, if we integrate these ideas with modern discoveries it will give more profit. Other are Opening governmental commercial farms, Encouraging rural farmer by subsidies, increase in Mechanization and commercialization of Agriculture, Technology adoption and use of innovation, Maintaining supply chain and perfect market system, Opening Agriculture based Industry (ie. Input industry, Machinery, post-harvest, etc.) and making diversified products, prioritizing Agro-tourism and Eco-tourism, Opening colleges and training centers, increasing agriculture Research and Extension, Categorizing land and making scientific way of land use system, etc. I am sure that, adopting this will make us self-sufficient and self-reliant on Agriculture contributing more to national GDP. We have the capacity of developing model agriculture that other countries can learn from us but working by making efficient strategy is compulsory.

Moreover, we have lots of advantages of being self-reliant on Agriculture, like less import and more export of product, Employment generation, Maximum utilization of barren land, Sustainable and strong Economy, Support to other service sectors, etc.

Agriculture is only the shortest, easiest, and strongest way to uplift the damaged economy of the country and it is a golden time to make Agriculture revolution so, we mustn’t lose it.

The writer is a student at Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan. Currently he is interning at Krishi Gyan Kendra, Ramechhap

Published on 15 May 2020

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