Nepal is a small country renowned all across the world for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and agriculture as livelihood for many people.
For years, agriculture has been the single most important source of income and nutrition to this large farming population in the country. However, agriculture in Nepal is merely for sustenance and still driven by the ageing group of farmers, with worryingly low interest of youths in agricultural sector.
YPARD Nepal, realized this necessity to encourage our hesitant youths towards agriculture. It could only be achieved if they were exposed to the benefits of agriculture through exemplary approach. That’s when; we came up with the idea of ‘National Workshop on Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship – 2017 (NWYAE17).’ At first, we teamed up with Union of Veterinary and Agriculture Students (UVAS), a students’ technical organization of Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) for proper on-sight management, and scheduled for International Youth Day – 2017.
A two days’ workshop was held at National Maize Research Program, Chitwan District, Nepal on the 11th-12th August 2017. The theme of the program centered on empowering young Nepalese, especially those returning from foreign jobs, new start-up famers and students of agriculture with agri-entrepreneurship; its planning and management. More than seventy progressive youths including twenty young farmers, joined the workshop where they had extensive discussion, experience sharing and interaction related to commercial farming, including the possible problems, and the ways to tackle them.
National Workshop on Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship – 2017
On Friday morning 11th August, the venue was full of enthusiastic agri-aspirants, hailing from various parts of the country. The program started with national anthem followed by formal introduction ceremony. Informal session followed the opening ceremony.
The first day program was designed with the theme to develop the concept of agri-entrepreneurship through exemplary approach. It was initiated with a motivational presentation about the positive thinking needed for being a farmer-entrepreneur by Dr. Hom Bahadur Basnet, which energized the participants and created a sound environment for events that followed.
Then experience sharing from successful farmers including YPARD Nepal Storytelling Contest Winner - Mr. Khyam Narayan Paudel, President Excellent Farmer Awardee - Mr. Thaman Rajali and the youngest goat farmer awardee of the country - Mr. Amrit Tiwari enlightened the participants that agriculture is not merely a work on soil or animals, but a highly rewarding profession with significant dignity as well. The next session focused on eco-friendly agriculture, government plans and programs for young farmers and further possibilities of aids that entrepreneurs could get.
The activity for the second day started with training on high-tech agriculture and modern farm machineries that could be incorporated into Nepalese farming practices to boost up production with minimum input cost. Next session was on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in agriculture which, familiarized the participants with easy information sharing and farm management facilities online through internet technology. Similarly, sessions on cattle farming and poultry farming was conducted, making participants aware about their present status and scope in the future.
The final and key session of the program was to build a network among participants, facilitators, professionals and students to work together in achieving common goal of alleviating unemployment, hunger and dependency in agro-products.
The closing ceremony was grand with words of satisfaction and enthusiasm from farmers, students and volunteers. Thus, the workshop was indeed a great success and cherished upon by the participants. They were delighted to have a platform with side by side interaction among successful farmers, entrepreneurs, experts and policy makers; which finally was able to showcase the growing charm and goodwill of agriculture as a profession.
This venture from YPARD Nepal and UVAS, also a follow-up to ‘Storytelling Contest for Young Agri-Entrepreneurs’ has been a milestone in enlightening positive vibes of agriculture in the country. The sheer enthusiasm and hunger in participants to understand agribusiness practices and possibilities was overwhelming.
The agriculture network, which has been created through this event, has been extensively useful to examine participant’s practical use of learning. We envision agriculture as a desired profession among Nepalese youths, and promise to continue such endeavors in future as well. In days to come, we wish to see our participants as successful agribusiness entrepreneurs contributing to the nation to alleviate hunger, poverty and food insecurity.