Monthly Archives: August 2014
ICTs and Family Farming

ICT in agriculture NepalMore than ever, communication and community media has taken a pace for social change in rural areas. Improved communication facilitates access to timely information for improved agricultural production and above all, encouraging farmer participation in the rural development process.

Generally, farmers have limited access to information sources. To maximize the productivity, farmers should have instant access to information on the real time basis. Access to updated market price, weather information, cultivation practices, disease pest control could really help farmers in maximizing farm productivity and profitability.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) provides farmer with opportunity to have their voices heard. This is a break from traditional method of sharing information which were essentially one way.

One of the initiative “KISHAN CALL CENTRE” initiated by Agricare Pvt. Ltd provides information to farmers through Toll free landline service. I got chance to interview one of the employer of “KISHAN CALL CENTRE”  Ms. Sangita Dwadi for getting more information.

She said that they receive calls of farmers from 68 different districts out of 75 with 40-50 average calls per day. Generally, they have 2-3 employees to receive calls from farmers. They have good understanding in major issues, under major issues they connect to experts from research organizations, farmers cooperatives and scientists in different regions.

Starting this initiative, they distributed leaflets, posters, brochures to different co-operative organizations, Farmers groups, District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) and NGOs  for disseminating their service.

Chitwan based KISHAN CALL CENTRE has now reached with their services to 16,000 farmers of 68 different districts. They have been providing services regarding cultivation practices, identification of disease/pest and recommendation of effective disease/pest management practices.

 When I asked her about how you suggest solution to farmers with their problem, she replied that they start searching other  possible symptoms when farmers come up with small hints and symptoms of particular infestations. If a farmer has problem of fruit rot of tomato, the possible infestation might be due to virus, disease, pest of mineral deficiency. They identify the problem by inquiring other related symptoms they might be facing. If farmer have no problem of flies or pest symptom and if they not even apply fertilizers, it might be due to mineral deficiency i.e Calcium deficiency. Thus they recommend  calcium treatment to cure it after detail analysis of symptoms.

This type of communication technology has been able to solve farmers’ problem within a short time. Farmers are fully satisfied from such resource saving, human cost and time saving services. It has also been successful in sharing of success stories, best practices and sharing of problems.

Sharing of problems, lesson learnt and good practices with wider community would help to address the challenges effectively and efficiently.

We have a tons of information that need to be disseminated to farmers. Culling out the right one at right time in right way is increasingly a challenge.

IYFF[AgriYouthNepal is celebrating International  Year of Family Farming  2014 (IYFF14) as a collaborative partner on YPARD Nepal Family Farming Photo Contest. To participate in to the contest send your pictures filling this registration form]

Farming and Family Farming

Truth, farming has always been an integral part of our lifestyle. And we will be needing farmers until the day we grow chlorophylls on ourselves.Majority of our farmers are actually smallholders who own family farms and previously believed that they farm only to feed themselves. But now statistics show they are actually the one who nourish the world. Believe it or not, 75% of total farmers are actually family farmers and they produce for 60% of the people. In USA alone 98% of all farms are actually family farms and 91% of which are smallholders. They contribute to 27% of total agricultural output. Still think small holders are substantial? Well, think again.

Family Farming in Nepal
So what are family farms? It is farm with different enterprises functioning in a symphony as one. It is owned by a family and passed down to young generation by inheritance. Since ages, it has been a basic unit of agricultural economy. Imagine, availability of healthy meat, vegetables, fruits, cereals and other products under one roof; quite awesome.
The UN finally understood the potentiality of these farms and the 66th General Assembly declared 2014 as International Year of Family Farming (IYFF14). IYFF collaborates with farmers, government and other agencies to identify, support and promote small scale farmers. They are trying to reposition family farming at the center of agriculture. They have realized its role to insure food security, quality, origin and diversity of food.
From ages we have been practicing small scale farming while from 60s we had been criticizing them for being inefficient laborious and insufficient. Beginning of new millennium and family farming went to become a big hit. As for all the good it carries, it should be. If not for family farms many of our local crops and livestock would vanish. We may not have Basmati and Anadi, Siri and Lulu, Hurra and Bhyanglung. Agrobiodiversity would be on the edge and agriculture would be ruled by hybrids, the world would taste the same.
Because of them we are accompanied by healthy lifestyle. Organic food mongers are increasing and prioritizing naturally grown produce. They are the reasons we are realizing sustainable farming. Due to them we are able to keep our viscera and our vicinity healthy.
In wests family farms are termed so just because they are owned by a family and can be inherited. But, here in our country family farms are the perfect example from textbook. They have small land holdings, technologically deprived, the output is low and costly and get inherited from father to sons.The small lands are still getting fragmented. Food is not enough to feed the farmers themselves. They are getting poorer, weaker and impatient. While government doesn’t even realize their existence; big financer and investors are totally neglecting. Co-operatives on the other hand have really come forward to support them.
Oh, what a pity! But do they really need sympathy?Absolutely not. What they really need is trust and guarantee. Family farmers should be given their basics like quality seeds and breeds. Proper inputs, devices, fertilizers and tools. Likewise availability of market, financers and insurers should be maintained. Subsidies are simply bonus.These might catapult the agricultural output and livelihood. Amidst all these facilities, rest of the world is still facing a serious problem, it is always sort of famers.
Farmers carry huge burden, immense pressure on these people don’t work with magic beans. The job requires toil, patience and it is not even respected.
Nobody wants to be a farmer, to this New York Times writes, “ People do not want their child to grow up to be farmer.” It is dirty, demanding and low. We prefer tie to pigsty or maybe Jaguar to tractor.Another major problem nowadays is farming is seen more like a luxury low. We prefer tie to pigsty or maybe Jaguar to be tractor.Another major problem nowadays is farming is seen more like a luxury. When rich aristocrats own farms to satisfy their In such cases, they will be underutilized and simply displayed as a trophy.
The government, the people and the businessman, everyone should realize the capacity of family farmers. Only a pat at he is not enough. It should be made stand tall in front of industrial farming. “How can we give them bigger responsibilities?” Should be in the mind of government. And. “How can we live upto the expectations and demand of the market?” Should be in the mind of the farmers.
Family farmers should be given their share of respect and responsibilities. And they should be established as professionals. This will ensure the promising future.
Let’s not just produce food, let’s produce farmers and let’s not just produce farmers. Let’s produce proud farmers.

Picture Credit: Susmita Paudel

YPARD Nepal announces Family Farming Photo Contest

IYFF14 photo contest

The United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) with the slogan “Feeding the World, Caring the Earth.”

To mark the IYFF and on occasion of the World International Youth Day, YPARD Nepal, in collaboration with AgriYouthNepal (AYN) and Nepal Agricultural Cooperative Central Federation Ltd. (NACCFL), announces “YPARD Nepal Family Farming Photo Contest.” A competition from all Nepalese citizens with the goal of giving a stronger voice to family farmers as well as the recognition they deserve for their key role in the construction of a food secured future.

In line with the IYFF objectives, photo entries from smallholders on agriculture, livestock production, food security, landscape management, youth and gender equality in family farming are highly encouraged. Pictures must transmit the strength, potential, contribution and challenges that family farmers meet in their daily lives. Each individual can submit up to 3 pictures to the contest. The photo contest begins on the 12th of August 2014 and ends on the 11th of November 2014. To participate in the photo contest, simply fill this registration form.

All the photo entries will undergo a panel judgement first and then the public will vote among the best 20 photos (25 November to 15 December). From top public choices, the first (NRs. 20,000), second (NRs. 10,000) and third places (NRS. 5,000) will be selected on the 20th of December 2014.

The winners will be awarded on the National Youth Forum on Agro-based Entrepreneurship Development (#NYFAED15) in January 2015, and will be published on NYFAED15 proceeding, YPARD, AYN, NACCFL and 2014 International Year of Family Farming websites.

For any inquiries, email us at [email protected].

Family Farming: An Urgency
Nirmala Katuwal Chettri and Anjali Shrestha
Student | Agriculture and Forestry University

With the beginning of human existence, gradually farming was all about what people had to do for survival. And today is also the same but the way of farming has been changed. As the time passed on, human found alternative source of livelihood. Some are involved in education sector, some industrial services and others. Now only few are left behind. For this reason the commercial agriculture began to meet demand of all. With the discoveries and advancement in science and technology the world is being urbanized and people want to engage in other sector rather than agriculture. Although the trend of agriculture is being transformed into commercialization from subsistence type globally but family farming still survives hugely in our country as an option of livelihood of more than 83% of population living in rural areas.

family farming in nepal

Family farming is a means of organizing agriculture, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and production which is managed and operated by family and predominantly reliant on family labor. Family farming involves all the family based agricultural activities and it’s directly linked to rural development and it is predominant form of agriculture in food and production sector too. Sustainable food security involves strengthening the livelihood security of all members within a household by ensuring both physical and economical access to the balance diet including the needed micronutrient, environmental sanitation, safe drinking water, basic health care and primary education. In such case family farming can play a vital role to meet food security. It equally assists on conservation of agro biodiversity using agro biological resources and traditional knowledge based farming system. It provides nutritious and balance diet to the family that makes farm family healthy and strong.
Family farming offers an effective and economic solution to meet the challenges making sure that every person had has access not just to calories but to nutritious food. Beside nutrition supply and food security, it is good source of income. In addition it contributes to retain socio cultural identities and also reduce environmental pollution and soil erosion. It usually adopts organic method of farming which insists on maximum utilization of locally available resources. Family farming links agriculture and food with wider issue gender, migration and environment. Family farming is not only the source of food, fodder, fuel, medicine, spices herbs flowers construction materials and income but it is also important for in-situ conservation of wide range of unique genetic resources for food and agriculture. Family farmers are the custodians of biodiversity, a key asset for sustaining their livelihood. They are intrinsically linked to their society communities and landscapes, transmitting their knowledge skills, practices and technologies from one generation to another generation. This plays a major role in use and conservation of our natural resources. Thus family farming is much broader issue than just providing food.farming

With the commercialization in agriculture, agricultural products are quantitatively more but unfortunately they are not of good quality. With a motive to supply more so as to fulfill the demand of consumers, producers have become totally unconscious about health of consumers here in our country. A laboratory test conducted at Kalimati fruits and vegetable market –the largest center of vegetables in the Kathmandu Valley, by Ministry of Agriculture Development (MOAD) had found that most sought-after vegetables and fruits supplied to valley contained over 90 % pesticide residue while the acceptable limit is only 35%. Through the investigation the fact has been revealed that the level of toxicity in the vegetables available in market is in such a level that our body cannot withstand. It is sad to hear such news but this is the bitter truth. Despite knowing that such vegetables are harmful for their health, people urban areas have been forced to buy the vegetables which contain abundant pesticide residues due to lack of availability of organic vegetables. Most of them have such view “If you eat vegetables which contain pesticides residues, you will die of food poison. And if you do not eat, you will die of hunger. Pesticides-free vegetables and fruits are not easily available as their production is very low. If we continue to consume inorganic vegetables, certainly our country is going to have a large number of ill and inactive people in the future. Hazardous use of chemicals in the name of increasing quantity production is not the only solution to fulfill the demand of consumers. But this condition is prevailing in urban areas. On the other hand the ever encroaching crush of urbanization is being a major cause for disappearance.

mountain farming
After being a major way of livelihood family farming is in the phase of declination and extinction in rural areas as youth with the zeal of earning money fly abroad leaving behind the old aged parents and children at home. They have the notion that farming is not prestigious occupation. Agricultural land is being turned into marginal land these days. Rural people also spend remittance to buy food from market as their enthusiasm on farming has declined. And a great tragic is that the food in market are unhygienic. There are many cases of chronic health disorders due to consumption of poisonous vegetables. Hence the concept of family faming is emerging nowadays and its importance is being realized greatly.
Along with huge importance of family farming, farmers are particularly vulnerable to risks from diseases pest drought flood unpredictable rainfall and other external shocks including those induced by climate change. There is lack of policies, innovation, practices that support family farming. There is necessity of ways to address the need of family farming with a new approach new technology combined with indigenous knowledge of farmers.

Photo Credit: Tanka Khatri