“Sorry. I don’t know what you are saying.” “But I don’t think it’s possible.” “Are you trying to fool me. WE have never heard of it.”
This quoted statement were exactly what I got in reply when I was on a survey for extension service nearby village of my University two year back. Their reply come as a shock to me because the places I visited were in the vicinity of the only premier Agriculture University of Nepal.
I had wide range of question to ask such as use of SRI technique, commercial vegetable farming, high density planting, organic farming, Permaculture, Agroforestry, and Climate Smart Agriculture to name few. Feedback from them doomed my expectation.
I revisited the place month ago and yet their opinions have not moved an inch. This made me ponder about our ongoing advanced research in agriculture at local/national and international level and our ability to reach the actual beneficiaries. We have doubtlessly made tremendous progress at least scientifically in the field of agriculture, we have given birth to wide range of innovative techniques and amalgamated with various other field of science, yet there is dire need of increasing our capacity to reach people who are actually ploughing the field, to those people whose actual source of income comes from harvesting production, to those people whose livelihood absolutely depend on agriculture. Gap between farmers and researchers/scientific community are increasing steadily which is a priori truth.
Extension as Focused Topic:
Gap between scientist and farmers needs to be minimized. Farmers are afraid to ask scientist because they feel inferior and most of scientist don’t bother to deal with farmer because of intrinsic superiority feelings. This is where role of extensionist come into play. They can be the effective messenger to transfer the technology from scientific community to farmers. They could play pivotal role in delivering common problems of farmers to scientific community such that new research can be drive in this pathway of solving farmers’ problem. Effective extension service will prove to be vital in coming days where farmer and scientific community don’t live in isolation but will co-exist as single entity. So it’s highly recommended we start concentration on escalating of extension service.
Youths as driver of Changes:
Looking at knowledge gap between farmer and scientific community, I along with my few friends, with the support of our University professor, established “The Eco Minions (TEM)” with me being founding President. The main theme of our establishing organization was to mitigate this gap in the knowledge and encourage other youths to partake at different agriculture program. With two years of our establishment, we have successfully launched different agriculture campaign inviting expertise, students and farmer under same field. We yearly celebrate “Rice Plantation Day” at farmer’s field and annually reward youths, women and innovative farmers. We have launched vermicompost training to household women by calling entrepreneurs, provided SRI techniques to farmers. Integrated Pest Management is another applauding initiative we have under taken under constant guidance from Department of Entomology. We have networked with different national and international organizations. We launch different motivational seminars, trainings calling expertise from abroad as well. This is just an example of what youths can do. Unleashing youth potential is must to elevate agriculture development.
Social Media: Disseminate to Dilettante
How much will our agriculture flourish if we limit ourselves to only farmers and agriculturalist? Until and unless, everyone takes it as serious issues, likely hood of agriculture development is questionable. Why agriculture for everyone? Because food we eat come from field, clothes we wear has its source rooted in agriculture, drugs and pharmaceuticals products has its raw source from agriculture. Most of industries will go bankruptcy, if agriculture fail.
Thanks to technological advances and ubiquitous presence of billions of youths in social media, we can increase our outreach easily than it would have been a decade back. Facebook, twitter, tumblr, youtube, instagram are most popular sites with millions of daily users. It’s for us to utilize these platform in innovative way. This could be through hashtag, less expensive advertisement and reaching non-agriculture community through use of language they understand. For latter portion, I would like to cite my own example. Last year on March I launched “Keedafie: Selfie with Insect Challenge” with my fellow Indian mates. The main goal of our project was to reach non-environment science students and make them aware of Insect Biodiversity. It went phenomenal. We had whooping outreach of 30,000 people and had participation from 7 countries representing 4 continents. They were mostly youths who had this common hobby of taking selfie. This movement won “Use of Social Media in Biodiversity Conservation Challenge” by CEE India. So why not agriculture?
Role of GCARD3:
Such grand conference of agriculture intellectuals is rare chance for every stakeholder to meet and discuss openly on the issues of agriculture. GCARD3 could be bridge to join farmers, scientist community and other stake holders. GCARD3 can develop strong lobbying group of all people related to agriculture and work for their rights. GCARD3 could provide young people a platform to deliver their ideas and aspirations, their expectation from seniors and international communities. GCARD3 can ease to develop consortium of “Sustainable development Goals” specifically of “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” acknowledging the fact that GCARD3 is indeed one of the largest and advanced conference embolden with ardent agri-lovers. GCARD3 has pivotal role in extending findings of scientific research to ultimate beneficiaries, establishing itself as knowledge exchange conference among different stakeholder and creating lucrative opportunities and schemes to every stake holder. We are univocal that GCARD3 can make “Agriculture” great again.
To put it in nutshell, I firmly believe extending horizon of agriculture and encompassing more diversified people from around the world is the essential need of us to make each and every individual respect importance of “Agriculture”.
This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
Picture credit: Aksana Dallakoti