A kin of mine once asked me a question which kept me in dilemma for a long period of time during my early days in Rampur campus, Rampur, Nepal. The question was simple, “You used to be one of the brightest students in school and Intermediate level college but WHY ARE YOU GOING TO STUDY AGRICULTURE instead of studying M.B.B.S or Engineering? Well, frankly speaking, I didn’t want to be an agriculturist in the first place.
The story goes back to my school days when my teachers used to say “Yes, you will be a doctor someday.” And I used to think why not? But later, when I passed my intermediate level exams, I discovered medical profession isn’t what I want to pursue. It isn’t that I got lower marks to get through. Actually I nearly made through the entrance exams. One more year of hard toil would probably have made me a doctor. But then, I didn’t want to be an agriculturist as well. I joined Bachelor of Science in Agriculture just thinking it as an oasis to let me decide what exactly I wanted in my life. Three years back, and what I know from the bottom of my heart is I have actually found the real ME, as an Agriculturist.
It is not only my problem. In Nepal Agriculture is the most important occupation, and more than 70% of the people in Nepal depend in agriculture for income and livelihood. However, if you find a single child with dreams of being an Agriculturist, then, feel real lucky. The problems are rooted at this very beginning.
Small land holding area, poor farmers, unstable politics, lack of literacy, resistance to change is some of the factors that have limited Agriculture to the subsistence and traditional level. Being wounded so many times by the failure in crops production, one of the farmers in Chitwan, Nepal once told me that going abroad for labor works are more income generating than farming. He is not the only one who thinks so, there are lots of people who think this and in some way, they have been proven right as well. This is the time when we must think where is agriculture in Nepal going towards?
We all know a quote, “If you ate today, thank the farmers.” This saying alone can describe the importance of agriculture. However, what I have seen in Nepal is, the problem isn’t that people don’t know, the problem is some people turn a deaf ear to the problem and some try and fail. Here, I don’t want to emphasize on what my government has to do. Living two decades, I know that political encroachment in every sector of Nepal, its instability and the race for power has cost us a lot. But let’s talk of what can be done from our level.
Once I read a blog of Mr. Dinesh Pandey,YPARD National Representative for Nepal. He had so beautifully written a sentence. Agriculture is not attracting youths because it lacks glamour, it’s not sexy. Well that’s true. People especially youths are allergic even with the idea of getting muddy or dirty. In my opinion, no knowledge is gained without dwelling in the vastness of the practicability. However, we agricultural youths can make it sexy by exploring the possibilities agriculture can provide like making impact on the farmer’s lives, contributing to national agricultural policy making, creating international audience and platform for agricultural ideas and happenings.
Another important habit of us youths, especially Nepali youths, is blaming the current system, blaming the teachers, blaming the nature and the list goes on. If you are an agriculturist, try making channels for marketing. There have been many examples of successful agriculture entrepreneurs as well. If you are an agriculture student, understand agriculture for benefiting the farmers around you, not just for achieving fat money jobs. If you are not an agriculturist, at least try respecting the profession. Afterall, every work is important on its own aspect. At least give a try to make a change because change is possible if you start from who you are and where you stand.
At last I want to leave a question to all the agricultural students, HOW MANY OF YOU ARE THINKING OF MAKING REAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURE AFTER THE DEGREE?