KATHMANDU. MARCH 09
Mama! I'm hungry. Oh! It's lunch time, let's eat. Yeah! Today's a party, let's eat. All of these expressions turn into joy with food around. Yes, life without food is unimaginable. This is the reason "food" holds so much of importance as it resembles life, reflects joy and socialisation.
Going deeper, it is a realisation of hard work, dedication and, above all, the rich agricultural practice. Yeah! All the food ultimately comes from farming practices and non-stop vigorous work of the farmers.
Agriculture from the very beginning has been the prime economic activity of Nepal.
Surplus food was grown. But things are different today.
Cultivable land is shrinking with concrete structures sprouting everywhere. In places like Bhaktapur, Thimi and Bode, known for their fertile lands, haphazard urban growth is taking place.
Similarly, Tokha is known for its mustard, but it now faces threats from the construction of the fast track.
The Bagmati, Manohara and Bishnumati Rivers that used to irrigate farm lands have turned into sewer lines. The destruction is not limited to Kathmandu.
Even the scarce cultivable land in the hills is being fragmented and sold as plots to build houses.
As a result, we face of shortage of basic foodstuffs, and they need to be imported from neighbouring countries. Rice, dal, vegetables and fruits are imported from India. Onions and apples come from China.
This means an outflow of foreign exchange and increasing dependency on neighbouring countries.
It's time to reverse the situation and grow most of food we consume. This can be achieved if farming gains the same status as that of other professions. If farming were to bring high returns as in other professions, then many youngsters would opt to be a green-coloured professional, that is, a farmer or a farming expert.
For this, youngsters should inherit good agricultural practices.
Basic knowledge about agriculture should start in school. Like other subjects, if farming could be incorporated as a subject in the schools, its base could be created early.
The government has given priority to agriculture by providing, among others, subsidy on interest rates on loans. However, it has not reached the real farmer.
Adaptation of modern technology in agricultural practices and introduction of farming as an elite profession could give new status to the farmers. This will help overturn farmers' suicide cases and give them fair living standards. When the young generation is hungry, there will be enough food for them. So, it's time to work for a green tomorrow.
A version of this article appears in the print on March 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.