Second International seminar on farmer managed irrigation systems starts

A two-day international seminar on ‘Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems (FMIS) in the changed context’ organised by the FMIS promotion Trust (FMISPT), Nepal began here today.FMISPT chairman Dr Prachanda Pradhan said changes in social system, national and international economic environment and natural resource base, including overall water scarcity have influenced the FMIS. He stressed the need to undertake integrated water resource management for better utilisation of scarce resources. “The role of individuals and communities in autonomous and decentralised water resource management is another factor to be considered," he added. Pointing to the vital role of the FMIS in the socio-economic transformation, Dr Pradhan urged the government to adopt appropriate policies for the advancing FMIS in the changing context and new economic arena.FMIS, which represents an autonomous model of resource governance, were now required to include farmers to protect the values and characteristics of FMIS, said Dr Upendra Gautam, FMISPT vice-chairman. "Such a struggle was a necessity as the existing state provisions were more dictated by external agents of globalisation than indigenous capacity and needs," he clarified. The FMISPT felicitated Dr Elinor Ostrom, co-director of workshop in political theory and policy analysis, Indiana University, Professor Dr Norman Uphoff, director, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development and Dr Robert Yoder, Associates in Rural Development Inc for their outstanding contribution in internationally synthesizing FMIS knowledge, expanding the research and knowledge base and transferring best FMIS practices globally.Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ostrom analysed how FMIS build social capital to outperform the government-operated irrigation systems that rely primarily on physical capital. While Professor Uphoff focussed on the understanding and utilisation of flexible aspects of human being for improving irrigation management as per the changed economic environment.Presenting a paper—farmer managed irrigation systems and subsistence agriculture in Nepal, Dr Yoder dealt with the relationship between the FMIS and subsistence agriculture in Nepal and also laid emphasis on shifting the FMIS to agriculture production.Former vice-chancellor of TU, Dr Trailokya Nath Upreti, from the chair, lauded the initiatives taken by the trust. "In a state where widespread pessimism has almost become an order of the day, FMIS instils hope in people and is a more appropriate alternative for development than indiscriminately borrowed western organisational model, " he argued. A total of 124 national and foreign participants, including international scholars on FMIS, farmer representatives, specialists from governmental and non-government organisations from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States are taking part in the seminar.