The infinitesimal virus has kept down the Nepalese economy under the microscope. COVID-19 pandemic manifests unrivalled, distinctive and unique framework where a health-related altruistic catastrophe has advanced concurrently into a socio-economic one with an unprecedented halting of economic activities and corrosion of income opportunities for millions, especially to those who are in informal sector. It has rooted infinite complications in most of the people’s life globally which cannot be simply estimated.
In ongoing COVID-19 catastrophe, which has muddled global food chains, highlighted the significance of food self-sufficiency and momentousness of local production decentralized food systems assuredly capitulate environment welfare given as scarcely any greenhouse emissions and food waste reduction, is resilient, community oriented as well as easily accessible.
Sustaining the future of agriculture is subjected upon transformation into a decentralized food network. Contemporarily, 80% of the world’s population dwells in the countries that rely on the imported foods to some extent. The possible long-term trade curtailment upgraded by the coronavirus eruption, there are serendipity of financial rewards amalgamating diverse domestic production with a functioning trade system. The local food supply participates a paramount role in lessening the vulnerability, the food storage is more crucial, as food production is immoderately seasonal in many areas.
Nepal’s execution in food production has not been capable to reach its blemish on Self-sufficiency regardless being acclaimed as an agricultural country. Despite having fact that two-third of the residents are occupied in agriculture, the sectors beneficiations to total GDP has been only around 27 percent. A few decades ago, Nepal used to be an exporter of grain. In the fiscal year 2018/2019, Nepal imported agricultural and livestock products worth RS 224 billion where paddy import was of Rs32.5 billion. This substantial reliance on import for even two meals a day, has seriously warned the food scarcity in Nepal. Nepal should become a country that centers on agriculture and is self-sustaining in Food Production.
Nepal is 19th largest remittance receiving country globally, as per the 2019 data of the World Bank. According to Nepal Rastra Bank” Nepal received RS879 billion in remittance”, which was equivalent to 26 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Covid-19 catastrophe is likely to interrupt this certitude of foreign labor migration.
We can take an example of Cuba’s transformation into decentralized agriculture model that agricultural producers claim precise prerequisite to stockpile and preserve the essential inputs, seeds, supplies, animals, equipment and so on. Cuba’s agriculture after the 1959 revolution had been centralized on extensive, venture capital monoculture, which made Cuba heavily and deliberately relying on the socialist bloc for the subvention agrichemicals inputs and to regulate cost and payment of the agricultural exports. Contrarily, with the fall of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies in 1989-90, Cuba’s capture of fertilizers, pesticides and petroleum fall off by more than half. Cuba kicked back to this emergency and crisis by organization of labor, alternative planning, mastering the ideas and environmental preservation. Biological control and enhanced monitoring and diagnostic techniques are the Cuba’s focus for the pest control efforts. Soil management emphasizes bio fertilizers and vermi-culture. Cuba’s independent farmers, state farms and agricultural cooperatives frequently practices on minimum tillage and crop rotation. Cuba is also widely understood to be one of the most successful examples of urban agriculture in the world. The transformation to low-input agriculture has lessened the evacuation of people from rural areas to cities, and has guide the inauguration of lab or campus with volunteer toil and long-term scheme to revamp rural communities. Cuba ultimately reconstructed the road to restoration and ensured the food security in the country. This can be a great lesson to our country.
This erroneous time can be an opportunity to review and revaluate Nepal’s development practices and analyze its sustainability to the targeted goals and visions. Cavernous contemplation is mandatory for converting remittance-based economy into a more sustainable, eco-friendly and home-produced economy. Innovation, technology, entrepreneurship programs, invention and employment opportunities are towering ultimatum of this time targeting the repatriate youths and their families, improvised people and the young minds of the country. Post COVID-19 should accentuate making the beneficial use of knowledge and skills that the repatriate Nepalese have brought along. Self-employment, environment in the commercial agriculture, marketing, post-harvest operations and value addition should be enhanced.
Youth are the pillars of the country; they come with high prospective, aptitude, interpretation, solution, enthusiasm, enormous potential and capability to escort the country towards the prosperity and opulence. Youths can find out new visions, ideas and explore the potentials in agriculture when provided with suitable environment and access to land, capital, market networks, new technologies and skills. So, they should be the foundation of any policy and programs formulation. This time has assisted to bring our “lost diamonds” in the foreign land which the government should clutch tightly in the country bestowing the infrastructures for their development as well as the for booming the nation.
Prativa Sharma, Studying Bachleor in agriculture, Lamjung Campus,IAAS, TU