A Walking Training: Exploring Agriculture, Ecology, Climate Change and Culture

A walking training was conducted from September 1st to 5th, 2023, with the participation of 17 agricultural graduates in Chitwan district. On the first day of the route, the journey commenced in Hugdi, Dhading district, and concluded at Upper Kaule in Chitwan district. During the visit to Kaule, a brief observation of Chepang culture, traditions, agricultural practices, and lifestyle was carried out. It was also observed that the Chepang community has embraced modernization and there appeared to be a decline in their devotion to their own cultural heritage.

The second day of the journey began in Kaule and concluded at Upardangadi. Along the way, the participants observed the impact of climate change on the local community and vegetation. Dr. Jeewan Chetri moderated a discussion on climate change during this part of the walk.

The third day’s route started in Upardangadi and ended in Syangdi. During this leg of the journey, the participants observed deforestation, wildfires in the forests, and changes in vegetation as they ascended the Mahabharat range. This experience provided insight into the challenges faced by previous generations.

On the fourth day, the journey started in Syangdi and ended in Madi. During this portion of the walk, the participants observed the agricultural practices of the Madi community, with a particular focus on the Tharu community. They visited an organic farm to evaluate the use of organic fertilizers and botanicals for successful organic farming. Additionally, they visited a farm that integrated both organic and inorganic practices. This farm showcased advanced technologies such as high-tech tunnels, drip irrigation, vermi composting, Azolla preparation, and livestock farming. The participants also had the opportunity to learn about an inspiring Ph.D. holder who returned to Nepal to practice high-tech and organic farming.

On the fifth day, some of the participants traveled to Sumeshwor Mahadev, which marks the border between Nepal and India, while others engaged with the Tharu community to discuss their agricultural practices and cultural heritage. At the conclusion of the training, a self-reflection session was arranged to assess the training’s impact on the graduates’ learning and development.

Discussion on contemporary issues of food and agriculture with Agriculture journalists

Forest Action Nepal, Secretariat of Alliance of Agriculture for Food (AAF), in conjunction with Association of Nepali Agricultural Journalists (ANAJ), organized a two-day discussion session (May 5–6, 2023) at Edu Farm, Lalitpur, centered on contemporary issues of food and agriculture. The program was attended by total of 30 persons, including a group of journalists reporting and writing feature stories in the realms of agriculture, food, livestock, and forest science, accompanied by the representatives from partner organizations such as Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) Nepal, National Farmer Group Federation (NFGF), Community Self Reliance Centre(CSRC)/National Land Right Forum (NLRF) and Centre for Agro-Ecology and Development (CAED) Nepal. The programs key objectives were to inform better and engage media personnel’s for them to comprehend AAF’s work highlighting the challenges faced by the agriculture sector along with its repercussion as well as the potential responses. Furthermore, the program also sought to create a platform to exchange knowledge and support among the stakeholders.

The following were the major issues briefly discussed during the session:

– Revision of agriculture strategy and formulation of act

– Periodic plan and annual policy, program and budget

– Foreign direct investment

– Pesticide regulation policy, standards, and regulations

– Import of synthetic chemical fertilizers and release of carbon

– Global food crisis and export ban

– Land use, land distribution and barren land