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Of youth, agriculture and entrepreneurship: Finding the nexus

The 2nd Nepal Youth Agriculture Entrepreneurship Symposium was organized by 4-H Nepal (Head, heart, hands, health) on 20th-21st May, 2018 at Nepal Tourism Board Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu.

The challenges and opportunities of agricultural entrepreneurship, federalism, sustainable development goals and climate change were discussed along with motivational sessions from the specialists and entrepreneurs. Future farmer campaign was also launched which could be the sustainable step towards entrepreneurship.

I had a great time as it was my first time attending the agriculture-related program. Mr. Abhishek Khadka, Ms. Asmita Nagila, Ms. Anjali Shrestha, Mr.Anjan Dhugana, Mr. Rajiv Budhathoki, Ms. Sanju Pangeni and I were volunteering in the program from YPARD Nepal.

The program was inaugurated by the chief guest honorable minister Mr. Jagat Bahadur Sunar, Ministry of Youth and Sports. He depicted his willingness to contribute towards agricultural development through his speech. The president of 4-H Nepal, Mr. Lok Raj Awasthi during the welcome speech highlighted the essence of youth involvement in agricultural development.

During the sessions, many experts contributed their voices and learning from their experiences among the 200 young students, entrepreneurs and policymakers present on the first day. Discussion and research presentation of federalism impact on the agricultural sector of Nepal and future farmer campaign was launched on the final day of the symposium along with the motivational sessions.

The senior advisor of the UN-HABITAT, Dr. Markanday Rai shared his experiences and stated that” Nepal has a very similar climate as Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It is the greatest exporter of horticultural crops in the world. Why can’t Nepal do the same?”

Agriculture is a contribution to the Nepalese economic development and it has become a necessity to discuss it. For this, agro-entrepreneurship should be focused mainly as a national issue and involvement of youth must be encouraged.

NAYEASThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has a vision in which nobody is left behind. The presenter of SDG, Ms. Binita Karki suggested some practical steps like reduction of loan tax to young entrepreneurs and other subsidization programs to encourage youth to participate in agricultural development. With the succession of the program, there were many speakers who suggested new ideas for agricultural development. Ms. Asmita Nagila, Finance and Economic coordinator of YPARD Nepal highlighted family farming and its importance. The Nepal Agribusiness Innovation Centre Nepal (NABIC) also showed their willingness to provide support for startup businesses in the agricultural sector of Nepal.

Future farmer program was also launched on the final day of the program for a long-term sustainable agricultural development. The outshining personalities in the field of agriculture were acknowledged and encouraged. 

Additionally, Dr. Rishikesh Pandey, Assistant professor of Department of Pediatrics, Uconn health highlighted the essence of the involvement of youths in agriculture. He also said that the change is possible if the right motivation is given.

Though the program was not exactly my area of expertise, I really learned about agriculture and youth. The program reflected the mindset of youths towards agriculture. It was a delight to witness the positivity and aspiration of young professionals towards the agro-entrepreneurship development. I think the program would have been more beneficial if there were more sessions addressing the real problem of farmers and young entrepreneurs. 

We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Abhishek Khadka, Ms. Asmita Nagila and my other teammates from YPARD who were supportive throughout. My sincere gratitude to the organizing committee and Mr. Lok Raj Awasthi, President -4-H Nepal/Board of Director-Asia 4-H Network for providing us this wonderful opportunity.

 

Photo credits: Anjali Shrestha and Anushuya Guragain