Monthly Archives: April, 2016

Call for Abstracts: International Conference on Mountains in the Changing World, 1-2 October, 2016, Nepal

Mountains are a part of global biodiversity repository and play a vital role in maintaining global ecosystems and supporting millions of people. In the mean time they are the most vulnerable to rapid environmental change.

MoChWoThe international conference on “Mountains in the Changing World” (#MoChWo) is organized by the Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences in ancient town of Kathmandu from 1-2 October, 2016. It aims to provide a forum for international/national scholars, researchers, policy maker and students with opportunity to share their research findings and knowledge related to various aspects of mountains.

The #MoChWo will focus on a broad range of topics related to mountain ecosystem and sustainable livelihood. The thematic areas are

  1. Disasters, resilience, and adaptation
  2. Biodiversity conservation
  3. Climate change
  4. Environmental pollution
  5. Forest management
  6. Soil, water and atmospheric research
  7. Agriculture and agro-ecology
  8. Sustainable livelihood
  9. Policy for mountain resources and livelihood

Abstracts for the conference can be submitted via its online submission system from 1 April to 15 August 2016. Please click here for details.

All conference participants are required to register. Early bird registration begins on 1 June and ends on 15 August. The regular registration is from 16 August to 20 September. Click here for more information.

Authors will have an opportunity to publish their full research papers in one of these journals: Conservation ScienceEnvironments and Sustainability, and accepted through regular peer review process.

Contact information

MoChWo2016 secretariat
Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences, PO Box 23002, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977-1-6924204
Email: conference@kias.org.np, Convener: Dr. Basant Giri (bgiri@kias.org.np)

Conference website: http://conference.kias.org.np/

#GCARD3: Together We Are Shaping the Future

Today, 5th April 2016,  Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) is formally opened at the Birchwood Hotel and O.R. Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, South Africa which will be continued for next 3 days.

The global event is hosting by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa, in support of Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and Consortium of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), is expected to be an inclusive, participatory process and will be an opportunity to shape the future of global agricultural research.

History of GCARD

The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) has been created to promote effective, targeted investment and build partnership, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system so as to ensure that today’s agricultural research will meet the needs of the resource-poor end user.

As history, GCARD1 was held in March 2010 (France), resulted in the “GCARD Road Map”, a six-point plan for transforming agricultural research for development (ARD) around the world. In November 2012 (Uruguay) GCARD2 identified pathways to impact ARD, which led to 15 new commitments around partnership, capacity development and foresight. The GCARD3, which theme is “no one left behind: agri-food innovation and research for a sustainable world” kicks off a two-year global consultation process designed to help shape the strategy and future direction of international agriculture research and innovation.

National and Regional Consultations

During the year of 2015/2016, before to GCARD3, there were 20 national consultations meeting were coordinated by CGIAR centers with national partners. In Nepal, it was organized on 11th January, which objective was to share current CGIAR research activities to receive better insights of different research priorities of the stakeholders so as to run smoothly and have better impact on the research activities in Nepal. Similarly, GFAR and regional partners has organized 5 regional consultations meeting around the world.

Why GCARD3?

Sessions at the GCARD3 will reflect upon the outcomes of the national and regional dialogues with a view to bridging the gaps between the generation of new ideas and their impact in development and it will bring together stakeholders to confirm commitments to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and to discuss emerging applications in agri-food research and innovation.

The outcome will be a clear understanding of what is needed to achieve sustainable agricultural development in which “no one is left behind”. The Program is based on five key themes

  1. Scaling up: from research to impact;
  2. Demonstrating results and attracting investment;
  3. Keeping science relevant and future-focused;
  4. Sustaining the business of farming, and
  5. Ensuring better rural futures

Mainstreaming of Youth

GCARD3 is also becoming a major a space for youth, out of 512 GCARD3 participants, 140 are youth (that is more than 25%). There’s youth representation in all core teams (panels, speakers) of virtually every theme and session to discussion on how youth-led initiatives and their supporters can join forces better and work collectively towards youth-in-agriculture empowerment for agricultural development.

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Participants, Social Media Boot Camp (Photo: GCARD3-SMB)

i) Social Media Boot Camp

To support GCARD3, a 3 days long social media boot camp was organized to train a group of 75 social reporters from young social reporters, finalists of the Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP) and staffs from GFAR partner organizations, who have never worked together before so they can report live from the event. This is to ensure that they will be well equipped with the tools and skills to integrate thousands of people who cannot be at the conference into the onsite discussions.

ii) Global Youth Delegates

Among 96 applications, there are 14 young enthusiasts as GCARD3 Youth delegates to be the voice of the youth: to be part of the discussions online and onsite, to solicit their peers to contribute with their own input, and to particularly express those youth specific aspirations, challenges, needs and opportunities they see for the youth to be active agents of change for agricultural developments at all levels.

iii) Finalists of Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP)

About 2 months ago, YAP was announced as a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or agri-preneurs by GFAR, CGIAR and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD). Within three weeks, the organizer received 428 YAP proposals from youth around the globe. Through public voting and jury selection, later 6 proposals were announced as the finalists for the YAP. Each finalist will get a US$5,000 seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project, spread over the period of one year, and will be mentored by YPARD.

This blogpost is written by  Dinesh Panday, Communication officer at YPARD Asia and Pacific Coordination Unit.

Transforming Agriculture in Nepal

agriculture in nepal

Photo Credit: Sanot Adhikari

Written by: Dinesh Panday

In some years, the government declares the subsidy on quality seed to ensure food security through increased productivity but in the whole fiscal year there is neither mechanism developed nor execution.

Similarly, with regard to access to credit, the so called Agriculture Development Bank changed its policy to invest in non-agricultural portfolio and some other commercial bank like, Mega Bank which has alternative name for plough to power (to promote small scale business), but speaking truly it’s no more than slogan.

There are several instances of such nature. Weak policy formulation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and revision system together with inconsistency in agriculture is an important issue which has created frustration among farm families and out migration of youth from rural areas.

Agriculture in Nepal is characterized by low productivity which is mainly due to predominance of traditional farming practices, heavy reliance on weather conditions and poor infrastructure development. Agriculture has been one of the pillars of the development since I was a child. On an average, in spite of two decades of investment, there is only decimal (about 3 percent) progress in Nepalese agriculture.

Government has been developing Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) to replace Agricultural Perspective Plan (APP) from 2015 with the concept of agricultural transformation, but the transformation process is not getting momentum due to small uneconomic farm size, resource constraints, inadequate infrastructure development, lack of alternative employment opportunities, lack of technical knowledge and business skills among farmers and inadequate policy supports.

In this regard, here I am presenting some of the major ways to transform Nepalese agriculture to achieve much higher productivity, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and sustainability while making it more resilient to climate change impacts, which is also a road map of ADS.

Public Private Partnership

Coordination is one of the widely talked word and terminology in Nepal but it has failed almost all the time. The contribution of the private sector has been grossly overlooked. Hence, there is a need to create conducive environment which promote private sector involvement in agriculture. Moreover, it needs to enhance a favorable environment for a broad and pluralistic participation and resource coordination amongst all potential service providers and beneficiaries in partnership to adapt and modify technologies to best meet its farmer’s requirement. So we need more public and private research to work hand in hand for farmers.

 Value Chain Approach

High value-added agricultural products in order to have a high return help to open up new markets, and even build their own brand, and promote farm diversification. Nepal is already member of WTO and other organizations which increases the competition between domestic and foreign products and entrepreneurs to satisfy consumers from their products and services. The association of actors in agribusiness chains helps to realize economies of scale and gain market power of Nepalese agricultural products. This has been observed explicitly in poultry, dairy, tea, cardamom, ginger, and fresh vegetable sectors.

Commercialization and Competitive Advantage

Investment of resources, horizontal and vertical linkages between value chain actors, and policy supports help to commercialize certain sector of agriculture industry. The involvement of farmers and resources invested in these sectors and outputs generated from them provide competitive advantage for import substitution and export promotion. Commercialization of agriculture, being a national goal, has been receiving top priority in policies, plans, and programmes of the government. However, such efforts have been in project mode not in policy shift mode. Such projects which are currently in implementation include Project for Agricultural commercialization and Trade (PACT), High Value Agricultural Project (HVAP), etc.

Agricultural Mechanization

Our agriculture is heavily dependent on human and animal power which constitutes 78 percent of the total farm power, while mechanical sources contribute only 22 percent, also one of the factors responsible for high cost of production. Agricultural mechanization, which includes improvement of simple farm tools and implements like sickle and hoe to use of power tillers, harvesters, planters and seed drills etc., has become the need of the day where concept of collective farming or block farming could be appropriate to make huge plots. Recently, government officials have developed Contract Farming Guideline focusing on the import of modern farming machinery, including discounts on VAT and other taxes. All of these particularly automation and use of ICTs will also add glamour to farming and attract more youth in agriculture bychanging their perception into an exciting and innovative industry.

Capacity building and Farmer Outreach

The current prevailing simple mechanistic delivery system of training is not enough to support farming. Limited numbers of experts (JTA to officers) are trying hard to teach the huge number of farmers and generate appropriate technology. In the field, one front line extension worker has to look after more than 1300 farm families. More ever, major of our technology transfer materials are outdated and more recent publication are in doner agencies preference language than in Nepali.

There is also need to have better coordination among training providing institutions. Providing agribusiness or entrepreneurship training to remittance recipient households and returnee migrants can play vital role in commercializing agriculture at faster rate. Hence, the government should develop supportive policy for development of human resources to improve farmers’ livelihoods, support resource sustainability, ensure national food security and promote agribusiness and trade.

To conclude that it would not be wrong as Nepal’s agricultural policies are made without their serious engagement which was also stressed in recently held program called ‘Nepal Economic Summit 2014 – Destination Nepal for Investment.’ It is high time for the government of Nepal to look into these issues critically and get the policies implemented properly so that Nepal can once again entrench as an agriculturally self-sufficient country where farmers feel secure and embrace farming as means of business and not merely a way of living.