[Kiran Mainali, is an agricultural engineer by qualification and completed MBA-Agribusiness at Kings College. His major research interest areas lie on agriculture, technology, entrepreneurship, economics and innovation.]
“As the Covid-19 have dreadfully struck the country’s economy, talks have been on the surge to restore the sinking economy afloat through intervention of agriculture, but the journey is not as easy as presumed”
Living with Covid-19 has been the new normal for people of Nepal as the country has recently taken a major step of relaxing the lockdown amid massive public outcry of its impact on their daily survival. As the rough patches of Covid-19 multiples its relative vile impact globally, emerging economies like Nepal cannot be left unobserved. The latest reports suggest the awful fact that the economy of the country has crippled, many youths are anticipated to lose their employment and the impacts will leave major GDP contributing sectors distorted.
In between such potential ripple induced by Covid-19, the country is largely hoping to rebound through major intervention and investment in agriculture. However, so far the situation has not turned out that way it was estimated, since large quantities of the farmers’ produce are ending up in landfills and the supply chain is completely disturbed. But, on the brighter side elite economists, politicians, representatives of government or agriculture affiliated bureaucrats have been persistently pressing the significance of intervention in agricultural realms to bolster the overall economy of the agrarian nation. And all of a sudden, the talk of the town has centered towards redeeming the dwindled economy with critical emphasis on agricultural sector.
It has been an ingrained fact that before asserting any statement we tend to neglect the prevailing ground realities. Revolution in agriculture cannot be achieved overnight, it requires effective planning, valiant efforts of all stakeholders, and finally the most crucial implementation of the drafted plans in pursuit of results. However, people often disregard the proven reasons of why the agricultural sectors have been impoverished till date. And to sparkle light to it, one common node which can be burdened for an agricultural system undernourishment is incompetency of the government to retain skilled agricultural experts and workforce to sell their hardship within the nation’s territory or for public organization.
Nearly, 50% of the average agricultural graduates in a year desires to shelter themselves on foreign land and are rapidly leaving the country due to the government’s uninspiring actions. To further degrade the situation the graduates retained within the country don’t have a will of dedicating themselves to governmental jobs. The migrated bunch of talents completes voyage across seas to enjoy better education facilities, work environment, lifestyles, and all other basic amenities which is making things difficult for progressment of agriculture here in Nepal.
What agricultural experts brings to the table:
Experts can serve as assets to any economy. To constrain the aftermath of such a crisis scenario, the government should now redirect their attention in curbing the outflow of the skillset and vigorous agricultural minds. Time has arrived when multiple projects need to be sanctioned by the government to accommodate the skillset. If in that case, it would streamline innovation and foster creativity at bulk, enabling a conducive environment for agri-entrepreneurs or farmers to flourish. Similarly, large attention can be diverted in the rural landscape to soar productivity and profitability.
Over the years since agriculture has been perceived as a convoluted set of systems, public organizations are regarded to play an imperative role in the overall prosperity of the discipline. With the outset of this unprecedented crisis, time has arrived when the government has to initiate multiple projects, programs that can accommodate more emerging agricultural graduates. Newer programs can even be cultivated by captivating the interest of private stakeholder working with agriculture motives. Embracing such logical action at the correct instant may turn the ointment that can be applied to the engulfed economy.
With proliferation of agricultural expertise working in the promotion and development of the sector, the diminished agricultural domain can get revitalized. In the coming days, an optimistic coalition between the farmers and retained count of experts might ensue rapid agri-industry expansion and farm development in agriculture, which is indeed the country that had been waiting for long. The large number of migrants who are expected to be repatriated succumbing to financial difficulties raised by Covid-19 can be settled if such actions are well implied. Even, on other side agri-experts can dispense mentoring and guidance to returnees with investment, skills, and willingness to better rinse in the agricultural ecosystem. Such practices might be effective in rehabilitating repatriated individuals along with igniting the dipping economic growth.
Government role to make sector appealing:
It would be a hard ride for the government to restructure the entrenched predominant system. However, endorsing a system which can result in efficacy should be in prime attention to resolve the perennial challenges. An initial plan of work needs to be devised by authorities, before crafting numerous programs to enchant the agricultural experts to get holded and disperse their accumulated knowledge. The real woes pertinent in the life of the agricultural professional needs to be acknowledged, before developing the right policies or plans to persuade them to stay back in the homeland. The other way to achieve a desirable outcome is through immediate revamping of the existing policies to more agri-experts centered policy framework addressing their woes, issues, and voices.
On the other side, the workforces need to be endowed with all imperative incentives, amenities, services and higher educational assurance such that they can enjoy better dignified life working for uplifting the agro-society. Considering the time being the changes in the policies framework needs to be executed as early as it gets due to which forthcoming students will be exhilarated to contribute to society. Undertaking such urgent steps would steer the economy, provide employment opportunities to all repatriated nationalities. The role marching ahead of the agriculture sector in steering the economy is profound. Both the government and related stakeholders should grab a common consensus to resist the havoc resulted by the crisis.