Knowing the status of Nepal’s agriculture sector can lead anyone to the disillusionment from the idealistic speculations and expectation about the prospect of organic agriculture. After entering into the world of organic business one can realize that it is a long journey of millions of miles. Organic farming is the concept that advocates the notion of the organic relationship among the different organisms in farming. It supports the concept that the soil, plant, animals, insects, birds and human beings are closely linked. Organic farming helps to produce safe, nutritious and quality food products while at the same time maintaining ecology and sustainability.
Organic agriculture combines the traditional pattern of agriculture and the innovative method to promote fair relationship among the organisms. The mirage of unlimited potentials can be destroyed by the bitter reality of different hazards and indifference of the concerned authorities with one’s enrollment in the sector.
Every sector has obstacles. Organic agriculture is no exception. Consumers are not very much convinced about the benefits of organic products. Moreover, there is a lack of organic inputs by the concerned authorities such as seeds bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticides. There is no awareness about the organic farming and products among the consumers. Even if our country is agriculture based, the government does not have solid plans and policies for promotion of organic products.
Nepal is a developing country with very low purchasing power. Most people are under poverty line. They cannot afford the expensive organic food. Yes, with flow of remittance in recent years the purchasing power of people is increasing but remittance is being spent mostly on purchasing smart phones, laptops, automobiles, land and houses and junk foods. Little attention is paid toward purchasing and consuming organic food.
In Nepal bargaining culture is way of life. Organic products are more expensive than other raw foods which are imported from other countries. People want organic food at the price they get common food available in the market.
Huge quantity of products is imported from India on a daily basis, while very little is produced in Nepal. Imported products tend to be cheaper than organic products but the people go for cheaper products than what is healthy for them. Again, most of us care about the taste of food than the quality. This is where the problem lies, for organic food is not necessarily as tasty as junk. People also do not purchase organic food because they lack education and awareness. Besides, many have to struggle for survival. They cannot afford to purchase organic food.
Thus it is imperative to spread awareness about the benefits of organic food to encourage people to consume organic products. The government should provide incentives to the farmers to produce organic vegetables. And farmers should be provided with necessary skills, guidance and machineries. Awareness campaign should be conducted to persuade the purchasers to buy organic products.
Organic certification is important for the exportable organic product but the small farmers cannot afford the additional cost. This problem should be addressed by the government. We also need to incorporate the benefits of organic products in school curriculum. We need to promote organic food instead of business-oriented agricultural system.
Government agencies, NGO, INGO and other private sector organizations need to join hands to spread the awareness about organic products. Nepal TV and Krishi TV can broadcast programs to raise awareness and disseminate information about organic food.
There is a need of boosting the organic culture in Nepal. Promoting organic products contributes to ecological balance, animal welfare, good health, regional adaptation and global harmonization. We should embrace production of organic food without any delay.