Getting Inspired from YPARD to Contribute on Agriculture Knowledge Sharing

My name is Himalaya Subedi and i was born and raised on an agricultural farm land by my parents in the rural area of Nepal.

As a child I played with the soil/sand and was fascinated by my surroundings that included plants and small scale traditional farmers.They fanned my passion for agriculture which eventually earned me a scholarship from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Nepal, where I completed my intermediate to bachelor degree in agricultural science. In 2007 I got my first job as an agriculture program coordinator in agriculture through a local project implementation organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the rural areas of Nepal.While working, I became more and more engaged in the service I was providing for my country and mainly the impact my contribution was having to the rural people, who were unaware on how to use agricultural technologies even those available in the local context. For this, I became committed to work with these people.In 2015, I was nominated for the National Youth Forum on Agro-based Entrepreneurship Development (#NYFAED15) training organized by YPARD Nepal and after attending this training I became an active and registered member of YPARD. Through the YPARD network, I found many informative links to study, research funds, trainings as well as opportunities for workshops, seminars and conferences to participate in. After subscribing to the YPARD website, I also followed the network on social media, mainly their Facebook group, where I have met many like-minded friends who share their passion for agriculture.

Last year in November, I got the opportunity to participate independently on APEC Wisdom Agriculture Training and Workshop in Yinchuan, China. The insights and knowledge I obtained from YPARD and from the workshop on the importance of youth inclusion in agricultural research and development helped change my level of thinking and point of view in regards to the individual contributions on youth movement in agriculture. I believe that current youth has increased responsibility to feed their parents and the off-spring from the next 10-15 years and as such, they need to be involved in research for development in agriculture. These youth may feel voiceless and powerless at times, but through YPARD they now have a space to share their knowledge experiences and opinion in agriculture and agricultural development to present and future generations.

As a professional employed in agricultural projects wherever possible, I try to involve fellow young agricultural practitioners in development work. In addition to my work, I also give visiting lectures at Madan Bhandari Agro-Technical College at Ghorahi, Dang where I share my knowledge and experience on agricultural mechanization to students as this is relatively new in Nepal. In the past, I also conducted an experience sharing workshop to students of B. Sc. Ag at Prithu Technical College, Lamahi, Dang on the same theme.Most recently, on 27 December, 2016, I coordinated ICTs in Agriculture Knowledge Sharing Workshop with support of YPARD Nepal and agriculture colleges in Ghorahi, Dang, Nepal. Among the points discussed included; handling emails, google search, taking advantage of being a YPARD registered member, generating the funds for study and knowledge on the use of ICTs in Nepalese agriculture system. This workshop was fruitful in gaining the knowledge on ICTs in Nepalese agriculture and sharing the opportunity and utilization of YPARD network as an information source.

In general, about 35 young students (18-24 years) who have not heard about ICTs in agriculture and YPARD network participated. The program was facilitated by Mr. Dinesh Panday, YPARD Asia & Pacific Communications officer & Nepal representative, Ms. Nikita Bhusal, YPARD Nepal Communications focal point, and myself. The value of the workshop was increased by presenting the progress made in ICTs in Nepalese agriculture by Mr. Rabin Dhital, Crop Development officer from district agriculture development office under Department of Agriculture, Nepal.

There are many others ways to engage the youth in agriculture. I believe that unless the youth get involved in farm activities, they cannot internalize their studies. Thus, we should try to involve the local youth voluntarily in projects based activities without any financial burden to them. The visits and interaction with farmers can enable the youth to obtain valuable information in regards to the current field reality. A way to obtain this can also be done by sharing the best achievements in agriculture to inspire young people to get involved or by creating innovative activities through workshop in agricultural study institutions and other local schools.

My upcoming plan for motivating youth in agriculture is voluntarily conducting a seminar on farm mechanization initiatives in Nepal at Agriculture Colleges. Commercialization through mechanization is a relatively new subject in our context, but we can share the latest information, develop videos locally, news or publication among the college students and hold interactive workshops and visits between the innovative farmers and college students. These activities show new sides of agriculture to emerging scientists as lectures cannot involve student in detailed agricultural survey. This way, we can involve the youth from our side.

Lastly, all young people involved in research and teaching extension in regards to agriculture could be given top priority for participation in relevant events so that they can utilize the opportunity and be role models for others. 

Testimonial by Himalaya Subedi an active member of YPARD Nepal.

 Photos Courtesy Himalaya.