19 June 2022
By TON Nepal Desk
The Nepal government’s budget program for the current fiscal year wishes to decrease food imports by increasing the production of rice, maize, vegetables, and fruits by about 30 percent. The program also emphasizes improving the state of agriculture through mechanization and promoting a climate-adapted agriculture system.
The current finance minister, said the agrarian authorities to make a strategy to deliver better-quality seeds to agriculturalists this year which would help upsurge indigenous production manifold. These are sound ideas since the goal of the agriculture program must improve food production and reduce imports.
An important task Nepal face is the scarcity of fertilizer. While Nepal requires about 1.2 million tons of fertilizer annually, the government is not able to bring even half of that. Fertilizer scarcity has been a tenacious difficulty, and perhaps the most discussed subject within agriculture management.
Agriculture science clearly states that for all crops, there are specific fertilizer usage windows for prime results. Under the given environments, farmers are hardly able to use these windows. Food production cannot flourish without adequate, timely fertilizer application.
Labor deficiency is another challenge in Nepal. As managing labor is a hard job for farmer families, which has discouraged many from continuing farming since hiring labor is costly; reasonably, farmers choose out of agriculture to follow other work, making it easy for them to buy food from the import-based market instead of producing their own.
Therefore, the majority of the Nepal population is engaged in farming" needs change to establish the actual number of full-time farmers. While the mechanization of agriculture can help solve this problem to an extent.
Nepalese agriculture is faced with another mushrooming problem, the climate crisis. It’s already begun to impact agriculture in several ways from augmented deficiencies and recurrent overflows to insect/pests and sicknesses. These impacts are growing in number, and they’re beginning to increase with overwhelming effects on food production. Without addressing them, achieving sustained higher food production is not possible in Nepal.
The fossil fuel industry remains hell-bent on prioritizing its profit margins, sending the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere soaring with no real fear of consequences as the addiction to fossil fuel is killing the Nepalese environment.
What’s important for Nepal to understand is that climate impacts caused by rising temperatures affected Nepal as one of the most vulnerable countries. The richness of Nepal’s biodiversity is its natural highest miscellaneous and multifaceted climatic conditions, creating varied climate impacts of different scales.
Though, the new policy has especially emphasized becoming carbon neutral to address climate change, it won’t be effective enough to reduce rising temperatures. In contrast, the impacts will affect the Nepalese more and more. The knowledge regarding climate impacts generated within the country so far has been broad and operational, aimed to raise awareness about the issue; however, it remains pretty inadequate to pinpoint any improvements needed at the local level, which is as diverse as our landscape.
The recently conducted local elections presented an opportunity to reflect on how candidates viewed the climate impacts affecting their constituencies. Their manifestos focused chiefly on traditional sectors such as health, water supply, sewage management, education, and infrastructure.
Climate impacts were noticeably absent from their campaign pledges. The candidates knew that the food travels hundreds of kilometers before reaching the customers. Imported foods have penetrated even rural areas, yet only a few candidates considered domestic food production an issue.
Unhappily, most of the policy-makers of Nepal has gravely misunderstood the climate crisis. Environment issues are always local and can be managed comparatively quickly. However, climate impacts are primarily regional and often encircling. A deeper understanding and greater, sustained efforts are required to solve them.
At the moment, Nepal cannot afford to import expensive food. However, Nepal will have no choice if it persistently fail to recognize agriculture’s climate crisis. The new policy of Producing Indigenous Food in Nepal if implemented can raise the indigenous food. Therefore, the challenges in sustaining and improving, agriculture needs more efforts than just only enhanced seeds and mechanization.