Sharing knowledge and experience - Young students and farmers training together to improve productivity

22 Feb 2017 by Shishir Dahal

My name is Shishir Dahal and I am a third year agriculture student at Madan Bhandari Agro Technical College, Ghorahi, Dang, Nepal where we specialize in methods of production and packaging of cereals, legumes, oil seeds and industrial crops.

It was from this institution where I learned from Mr. Himalaya Subedi, the course instructor, about the spring rice cultivation and innovative agriculture technologies sharing workshop cum training that was slated for 13th February 2017 at the District Agricultural Development Office (DADO) in Dang, Nepal. The workshop venue happened to be my hometown and also the spring rice growing areas of my fellow classmate and friend Mr. Lilaram DC. We were both selected to participate at the event as the representatives of this area.

When we (Lilaram and I) entered inside the training room, experts from Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), DADO officers and progressive farmers were ready to get started. We were the only two young students who were participating along with 20 progressive farmers. The first stage of the training was introductions where we introduced ourselves as young agricultural students. The progressive spring rice cultivating farmers shared their experiences, the challenges they were facing and expressed what was the total area of land occupied by spring rice, practices of nursery bed preparation, seed rate, fertilizer management practices (fertilizer dose, time and method of application), insect and pest problems they have seen in spring rice field and control measures that were being used.

After the introduction session, the first training session on how to increase fertilizer use efficiency in spring rice and others crops commenced. It was facilitated by Mr. Salin Acharya, Assistant Research Associate at CSISA project who presented the importance of farm mechanization and herbicides application with his field based economic analysis data by focusing on Dang district’s context and pointed out the advantages of conservation and zero tillage.

The second session was facilitated by Mr. Digamber Yadav Soil expert at DADO who presented statistical data of balance fertilizer use in the district including the spring rice mission program. The third and last session was facilitated by Mr. Himalaya Subedi, Research Associate at CSISA project, who delivered his presentation on packaging of spring rice cultivation and healthy rice seedling development. In his session, we learned the concept of community rice nursery management and the higher yield of spring rice.

Overall the training program was very informative, useful and attractive. We learnt that farmers are aware of the various agricultural recommendations like seed rate, fertilizer dose, pesticide dose, time and method of fertilizer and pesticide application. We got the actual field problems and experiences of farming from those progressive farmers. This training also helped us to know how farming and cultivating practices of crops are different from reading the agriculture books with my colleagues. Similarly, interactive sessions with farmers helped us to see the existing gap in academic course and farmers’ reality. Personally, I want to say thanks to all the training management team for such an informative opportunity.

In addition to participating in this workshop, I also benefited by participating on ICTs in Agriculture Knowledge Sharing Workshop held in Ghorahi and  being in touch with active YPARDian Mr. Himalaya Subedi. Additionally, I got the chance to interact with Mr. Dinesh Panday, YPARD Nepal representative who instructed us about concept of email writing, use of search engines like Google and Wikipedia. He also focused on effective use of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and many more in agricultural activities.

At this event, I also got informed by Ms. Nikita Bhusal, the communication focal point at YPARD Nepal about the vision, mission and goals of YPARD in agriculture, food security and environmental conservation sectors. At that time, I felt that I can possibly contribute in such a global network and now I am a registered member of YPARD. I feel very happy to be in touch with Mr. Subedi, an active youth with the aim of training young agriculture practitioners and youth motivators. We are expecting similar and more strategic opportunities from him in the near future as well.

Picture credit: Shishir Dahal