Importance of Food Self-sufficiency in Relation to Havoc of CORONA in Nepal
Forthe first time starting from the city of Wuhan, China since December 2019, Coronavirus has terrorized the entire world. Suddenly, the minute particle has taken the form of a pandemic in the world, trapping the country’s physical, social, economical, tourism, political, human psychological, health sector, and other development activities. The country has suffered losses from all sectors. To this day most of the least developed countries are facing severe economic crisis along with the region of terrible wealth and food shortage while the epidemic is taking a terrible shape. so it can’t be said that we will not have to face crisis like famine in near future.
Without discriminating between the rich and poor, the strong and weak, the young and elder, women and men, home and abroad, the Coronavirus has become a scare to the whole world community. Therefore, in this situation, the aim of everyone should be “to save themselves and save others too and as much as possible to be aware of any future risks and challenges and start work towards a solution”.
Basically, most of the developing countries, which rely on other neighboring countries for their basic needs are facing so many problems regarding all sectors including the psychological scourge of coronation. So for these countries, it’s not a weird and new thing that they will face hunger in near future. Countries including Nepal where the pandemic is raging, in this traumatic situation in order to save the people the country has adopted strategies providing possible facilities, remedial measures, such as awareness programs, lockdown to minimize the risk of disease, health care facilities, in some cases relief distribution also, but in addition people should aware themselves in time and has to become self-reliant is now inevitable. Until we will become self- reliant it is very difficult to get rid of prevailing problems (food shortage ) and upcoming risk and uncertainties.
Countries including Nepal where the pandemic is raging, in this traumatic situation in order to save the people the country has adopted strategies providing possible facilities, remedial measures, such as awareness programs, lockdown to minimize the risk of disease, health care facilities, in some cases relief distribution also, but in addition people should aware themselves in time and has to become self-reliant is now inevitable.
Self-reliance is, not relying on others for the fulfillment of their needs and requirements. It means developing alternative ways of living, working towards alternative solutions of problems and challenges themselves using locally available resources, indigenous skill and knowledge without depending on any external resources and things and agencies. It means to be self-dependent for most of our basic needs and necessities that we can easily achieve if we have interest of it. Therefore, self-reliant can be a remedial measure to overcome the prevailing problem of economic crisis and food shortage. In addition , self-reliant can also create the situation of food self-sufficiency in countries like Nepal as being an agricultural country where more about 60.4 % of peoples are engaged in agriculture, the country for which agriculture is regarded as the backbone of national economy. Obviously, medical cases are a first priority; but it is equally important to see whether there are other issues that could worsen the situation. The food is one of them. The economic crisis and food crisis that started with the impact of COVID-19 in Nepal, it has started to make daily life of us difficult and most challenging. The long running lockdown, sealed borders are causing inconvenience to different sectors like agriculture, trade and business. Due to the lockdown industries and factories are closed. Trade and business are at standstill. The production and distribution of agricultural produce have been disrupted even in developed countries. so that they might also face the problem of famine in near future therefore other foreign neighboring countries are not in a position to export agricultural produce later that’s why Nepal will obviously face many difficulties, challenges and crisis including hunger in upcoming days as it is heavily dependent on India for essential supplies. The economy is dropping down gradually day by day.
In addition, we are not self-sufficient in food production, and the world is in lockdown. In this circumstance, food supply may get affected. Moreover, due to our demographic distribution, major cities like Kathmandu are likely to become more affected due to its high population density and low food production in adjoining regions. Nonetheless, the majorities of rural areas of mid-hills and high hills are also likely to be affected by this phenomenon as daily necessities are not being distributed from one part of the country to another. As a result, these areas are in the position of facing shortage of food and other daily necessities. According to Ministry Of Agricultural development Food Security Monitoring unit, 42 out of 75 districts (FAO,2007) in the country are already experiencing the problem of food deficit and the current situation has caused even more. Besides that it is certain that will not be possible to provide the required raw materials, fertilizers, seeds, other agrochemicals, modern equipment in time for farmer. Taking all these into consideration, though global contagion has thrown up so many challenges and problems which could not have been imagined, it has also taught us a very very important lesson; that is, we have to be self-reliant/self-sufficient. It has taught us that” we should not look for solutions outside the country”. “Without self-reliant, we can’t deal with a crisis of such nature. The thought that we should depend on others for fulfilling our needs is centuries old, but the changes circumstance has validated its importance once again. As many districts have started to reel under the scarcity of food supply following extended government-imposed lockdown and novel corona virus pandemic so that every family, village, community, district, zone, state even the whole country has to be self-reliant and self food sufficient at its level ,it is now inevitable.
Self food sufficiency is defined as being able to meet consumption needs (particularly for staple food crop) from own production rather than by buying or importing (IFPRI) . It means country eschewing all food trade and relying 100% on domestic food production to meet its food need. While being agrarian country, suffering from the problem of food shortage has become a nightmare in itself. Due to indefinite shutdown there is no any alternate ways to import agriculture produce from any other country, producing agriculture produce themselves can be a way to solve the problem of hunger in this situation.
- Following the saying “it is wise to save lives in crowd and to save seeds in time of food shortage “, we can easily produce agricultural products using local resources, indigenous skill, knowledge and techniques.
- In urban areas where there is lack of arable land, food is not available until food grains arrive from Terai, even in such areas daily necessities (agriculture produce) can be grown using the remaining space around the home periphery and space of roof. By doing this, the problem can be avoided in the areas that are currently suffering from hunger.
- Not only this, with the proper use of local resources that are not in use can be properly utilized along with this, we can get a chance to eat organic healthy food from one’s own field.
- Besides that, now there is possibility of virus infection in imported goods, so food self-sufficiency is very much needed nowadays.
- In particular, Nepal imports agricultural foodstuffs of billions of rupees from abroad, so stopping that imports and increasing the supply of agro food stuffs from home is also of great importance of food self-sufficiency. As a result, the economic status of nation can be improved and upgraded by saving indigenous currency and that can be invested in other development projects.
- By making use of present leisure time, employment opportunities are also created by engaging people in agricultural work.
- In addition self-reliance in food production emphasizes the use of various local resources so that indigenous species of different crop plants can be conserved and promoted, which may become a topic of agricultural research in the future days.
- By examining the characteristics, the usefulness of the gradually disappearing plant species, indigenous knowledge and technology , conservation, promotion of such species can be done as well as superior quality can be restored and put on use.
- In other words the main importance of food self-sufficiency is, when the risk of starvation is increasing in some parts of Nepal especially during this current havoc, this problem can be easily solved.
- Self food sufficiency is not only politically important objective rather it is a strategy for building national pride by which we can reduce vulnerability on the world political stage stemming from over reliance. It is key means of safeguarding national security.
To be self food sufficient is not as easy as we think, lots of efforts, supports from level of individual, farmer and government is required.
- The major determinants of farm production are quality and timely availability of inputs and assured markets.
- In the meantime, being highly dependent on the weather and environment minimizing potential risks are also important. Finally, to operate the system some working capital and technical support are By ensuring them, the foundation of agriculture will be clear and strong. At this point, there won’t be an issue whether one wish to start and survive on farming.
- The next step after achieving adequate production is storage and distribution. The government should make it mandatory to maintain a certain level of buffer stock at each local unit and province. This will help to realize ‘protected agriculture-assured savings’.
- Furthermore, the agriculture system should adopt good farming and good handling practices and technologies, because the world cannot live without food. It is never too late to bring new ideas, relief packages, and schemes to uplift economy, address people’s and enterprise’s needs in a recession.
- While about millions of people are still suffering from malnutrition and hunger, the number has risen due to the pandemic. Therefore, to solve this , the government should set up food banks so that there is a supply of food to every people .
- At the same time, emphasis should laid on the establishment and operation of community seed bank, cooperative groups in each region so that essential resources can be provided timely.
- Digitalization of agriculture, implementation of smart technology that would revolunise farming and agriculture will also help to alleviate the challenge of over reliance on food production.
- Similarly, keeping in view the inconvenience caused to the farmer and consumer, it seems necessary to run Agri-product Marriage Bureau.
- There should be proper budget allocation for agriculture sector.
- Internet, mobile, various information and communication technologies help to reduce the distance in the agriculture sector. For example, safe online delivery of food solves our immediate problem.
- Likewise the agreement between private sector and farmer about to make use of uncultivated barren land are just as important. In addition, the government should make appropriate arrangements for landless people. Encouragement of farmers towards agriculture sector should be increased.
The problem of food insecurity can never be solved by the effort of a single individual. For that, we need the joint support and action of consumers, farmers, traders and government as well. Therefore, now it’s time, youth let’s return to our own land, shed the blood and sweat in it and grow gold in our fertile land. Let’s become self-reliant, decore the motherland and win the battle of this biological pandemic with agriculture revolution.