Monday, June 14, 2021

Promotion of self-sufficiency in agriculture highlighted

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Kathmandu, 10 June (2021) - Experts have emphasised on the need of adopting self-reliant agriculture system for attaining the sustainable development goals (SDG) outlined by the United Nations Organisation.

Discussions programme has been initiated in Nepal also in line with the concept of pre-conference on food system the United Nations has been organising for analysing the situation of countries throughout the world in the context of achieving the development goals by ending global hunger by 2030.

A virtual discussions programme was organised here on Wednesday in this connection. The discussions programme is on the topic of contribution of production groups and small farmers in the sustainable food system under the theme – 'Prior Right of the Marginalised Communities, Main Basis for Guaranteeing Sustainable Food System.'

Addressing the programme, National Planning Commission (NPC) member ad spokesperson, Meen Bahadur Shahi said priority should be given to programmes supportive of attaining self-sufficiency in agriculture. 

Regarding the topic of food sovereignty, he said, the government was moving ahead by analysing the issues raised by the civil society organisations. The NPC spokesperson urged the Agricultural Development Bank itself to facilitate in ensuring financial access to the grassroots farmers. 

The National Land Rights Forum, the Federation of Community Forestry Users Committees, the Agricultural Campaign for Food, the National Irrigation Water Users Federation of Nepal and the Association of Nepali Agricultural Journalists (ANAJ) are the organisers of the conference.

Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Dr Yogendra Kumar Karki said the national economy cannot be improved without improving and promoting the agriculture sector. 

"The Ministry would implement the topics raised in the programme as far as possible.  The production of and productivity of agri goods can be increased if many of the topics were put to implementation," he said.

Six working papers as to the kind of contribution made by the civil society organisations for making the international conference successful were presented and discussed in the webinar.

According to National Farmers Group Federation, Nepal programme coordinator Kedar Koirala, they were effortful for the skill enhancement of the farmers, facilitation in clean production, access to production of machines to the small farmers, agriculture entrepreneurship development, and support price of the production among others. He added that they were working to facilitate the marketing for the production and initiation to facilitate policy and system for the profit of the farmers.    

Six experts have addressed the issues raised in the programme.  

Professor at the Sudurpaschim University Raksha Sharma pointed out that the profitable production was hampering sustainable farming system in the country.

She added that the profit- seeking tendency has ruined the soil of the farming lands as farmers are found excessively using chemical fertilizer, chemicals, pesticides and energy as well.     

Agro campaigner Chandra Prasad Adhikari argued that the excessive use of chemicals has adversely affected the agriculture system.  

Community Self-reliance Service Centre’s Dr Jagat Basnet argued that the concept of smart city was displacing the farmers and the agriculture system.  

He complained of irregularities in government’s loan policy to small scale farmers. Similarly, Farmers Network’s Dr Gokarna Gyawali argued that the COVID-19 effect was hampering the UN’s declaration of ending famine by 2030.   

According to Dr Gyawali, 270 million people are still facing food shortage and an infant dies of hunger in each 10 seconds in the world.  

NPC programme Director Mahesh Kharel shared that discussions were on to form different organizing, supporting and technical committees in province and local levels. 

The UN is preparing to organize mega conference in course of achieving sustainable goal by 2030.  Pre-conference is being organized in Rome since July 26 to 28 for the September conference. 

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