Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
Community Welfare and Development Society (CWDS), P. 0. Box 7923, Kathmandu-Nepal
Farming is amongst the earliest activities man has pursued. Agriculture became an all encompassing activity in Nepal since the time the early man turned to cultivating food and fibre in the soil endowed with natural resources. Agriculture, in Nepal, is complex due to uncertainty of monsoons, soil heterogeneity, fragile mountains with divergent ecosystems, small and fragmented holdings and farmers with poor socio-economic base. Besides all these constraints agriculture has remained the dominant economic sector providing employment and livelihood to the majority of the people in the country.
Nepal could not remain outside the domain of Green Revolution technologies and thus, 1960s experienced the introduction of chemical inputs in agriculture system in Nepal. The related problems in terms of soil-water-air-products pollution, degradation of the soil causing increasing erosion and decreasing productivity, health hazards, disappearance of local varieties losing the traditional farming system and knowledge, creating increasing dependency, increasing production costs, increasing gap between rich and poor are the concerns of today's to sustain the pace of development within the ecological considerations.
Agriculture has declined drastically in Nepal. At present, it is characterized by the diminishing self-sufficiency in food production, economic unviability, social and ecological unsustainability. This crisis demonstrates the failure of almost four decades of government planning and related activities in agriculture sector.
Organic/sustainable/regenerative/ecological/nature/alternative/permaculture are the different forms/names of agriculture practices being promoted dominantly through NGOs in Nepal, but still on a smaller scale. These initiatives are local resource based for regenerating the already deteriorated farming practices and therefore, being accepted by the farming community and slowly being appraised by the professionals which is a positive indication of its increasing impact in the days to come. The influence of world wide movement in organic production and marketing is contributing significantly to the promotion of organic agriculture practice in Nepal, although at a slower pace.
The challenge before Nepal and its sensitive citizens is that the environmental resources provide basic consumption needs to the people and the task is how to use these resources efficiently at increasing level of productivity in a sustainable manner. What is required is a planning with a long term perspective using innovative technologies and indigenous human intelligence and skills. The Shangri-la is fast fading. Nepal's economic and ecological future is at stake and it is never too late to make a sound beginning in sustainable agriculture planning, management and implementation strategy.
Jules N Pretty (1995). Regenerating Agriculture, p. 1-25, Earthscan Publications Ltd, London.
Murakami, Shimpi (1991). Lessons from Nature, p. 27-43, PROSHIKA, Bangladesh