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YPARD Café: A conversation on climate smart agriculture in Nepal

Nepal, a small and beautiful mountainous country in the lap of Himalayas. 

Characterized by its extreme topography, a sharp rise in altitude, diverse biodiversity and agriculture-based-economy, Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change induced hazards. 

Due to climate change, our serene environment is at risk, our biodiversity is at jeopardy, our agricultural system is becoming vulnerable and overall; our livelihood has been challenged. With all the challenges looming around, there’s much to wonder about; how can we mitigate the changing climate using limited available resources?  

Developing countries like Nepal need locally adaptable strategies and resource efficient innovations to cope with climate change which are affordable, adaptable and accessible to the most targeted population. Having realized this need, YPARD Nepal attempted to bring youths together for a discussion, aiming to generate innovative ideas on agricultural practices for adapting with changing climate through the program YPARD Café on climate-smart agriculture at the premises of Agriculture and Forestry University.

On August, 26th, 2018, YPARD café was organized with twenty-five young agriculture students in the presence of YPARD Nepal representative, Mr. Abhishek Khadka, also the focal person of the program. 

It started with an introduction to YPARD and about the concept of YPARD café. Which was then followed by the presentation on YPARD; its network, objectives, visions and opportunities within YPARD, presented by Mr. Bishal Mahatara (YPARD Nepal AFU coordinator). Some points were also added by Mr. Abhishek Khadka (YPARD Nepal representative) which justified the curiosities expressed by the participants. This presentation efficiently fulfilled the underlying aim of introducing YPARD Nepal among the students of the university through the program.

Moving on to the topic of discussion “climate-smart agriculture”, Mr. Bikram Nepali (Local Representative, YPARD Nepal) illustrated the present scenario of climate change and some of the accepted ways of mitigation through few well-organized video clips, which also encouraged the participants to build up their ideas. 

The idea pitching and discussion was further facilitated with the presentation from the focal person, Mr. Khadka. He highlighted that climate change in Nepal is more severe than the overall global condition and focused on how Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) could be one of the solutions. 

He also emphasized some of the physiological effects being observed in the plants and impacts on livestock due to climate change. All in all, he appealed to adapt climate-smart agricultural practices in order to march towards sustainability. 

The participants were randomly divided to form five groups and were given few minutes to discuss how we can form a “climate-smart village” in Nepalese context. All of the groups consecutively presented their ideas regarding the establishment of climate-smart village. 

From the group discussions, the members identified the cooperative focused integrated farming system as one of the solutions to tackle climate-induced hazards. The inclusion of the components like rainwater harvest, plastic pond, solar-powered water pump, climate-smart varieties and the implementation of scientifically proven indigenous knowledge were also among the raised concerns. Similarly, recognition of the barriers, a realization of the needs for change and then acting accordingly were perceived as the key process for adapting climate-smart agriculture. 

Replacement of chemical pesticides with bio-pesticides, an increment in the use of organic manure, vermiponics, and reduction in methane production through waste management, soil conservation, varietal development, agroforestry ideologies and grass-root level empowerment were also some of the common voices among the participants. 

Climate change is happening and its impacts are imminent in agriculture sector, which is highly vulnerable of its hazards. With increasing evidence of climate change hazards in Nepalese agriculture system, the mitigating measures suggested by the young participants in this forum really need a strong implementation from concerned stakeholders. 

Only then, we can achieve an agricultural system that is really farmers’ friendly, climate adaptive and can lead us towards sustainable agriculture.
 

Lastly I would like to thank Anil Banstola (Programme Coordinator of YPARD Nepal) for guiding and Abhishek Khadka for his valuable presence. 

 

Photo credit: YPARD Nepal