Organic agriculture opportunities in Nepal

Published On: May 31, 2017 03:00 AM NPT By: Samita Paudel

The rapid agricultural intensification, high input technology and use of high yielding hybrid varieties have increased the use of agro-chemicals. It has improved the agricultural production, by vigorous crop growth and controlling of disease and pest. However, the farmers of Nepal are unaware about the safe application, dosage, frequencies and waiting periods of the agro-chemicals. The haphazard use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has resulted deleterious effects on the human health causing immune-suppression, skin cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive abnormalities, birth defects and liver and kidney problems. The long term use of agro-chemicals in soil declines soil fertility and imbalances natural ecosystem. Therefore, the organic farming should be adopted to avoid such harmful effects of agrochemicals in Nepal.

Organic agriculture is a new name for the scientific and modern technology based traditional system of agricultural practices. Since the ancient times the farmers of rural hills and mountains are farming in traditional way. With the chemical fertilizers not been reached in some places due to the lack of infrastructure, farmers are likely to practicing organic agriculture. 

The majority of farmers are following subsistence agricultural system that can be beneficial in organic farming. The organic agriculture promotes the cultivation of underexploited and underutilized crops (horse gram, Foxtail millet) local fruit and vegetables that can play a vital role in fighting poverty and food insecurity in the hills and mountains of Nepal. Many types of manure like farmyard manure, green manure and bio-fertilizers can be used in organic farming over chemical fertilizers replacing the chemical pesticides. As the organic farming reduces pesticide pollution, supplies safe food, protects environment, conserves natural resources and reduces use of high input, it is environment-friendly, socially adjustable and economically feasible to guarantee sustainable agriculture. 

As it fights the health hazards that are caused by the residual effects of agro-chemicals, the consumption of organic food in the world market is increasing. A rapid growth of organic agriculture all over the world has been rising gradually. In the context of Nepal, the establishment of National Organic Agriculture Accreditation Body (NOAAB) and the National Coordination Committee for Organic Agriculture Production and Processing System (NCCOAPPS) supporting organic agriculture has made favorable environment for organic agriculture production. 

The national standard for organic agriculture and guidelines of certification has been developed that help foster domestic marketing and export of organic products. The national agriculture policy 2061 promotes export of organic products with commodities such as organic honey, coffee, orthodox tea, large cardamom, ginger has been produced organically in Nepal for export.

The health benefits of organic products have increased the willingness of consumer to pay for organic products. The specialized markets for selling organic products have been started and are getting premium prices in international and domestic market as well. The organic agriculture can be the best opportunity for the utilization of inherent agro-ecological endowment to Nepal and to enhance the national economy of the country.

Samita Paudel is the student of Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Lamjung

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