By Kiran Mainali, Program Development Associate (MBA Agribusiness)
For a country which has been facing endless food security issues, consumption of nutrient-rich food products is still an overarching vision that the country envisages and the journey is too far until efforts are ramped at an accelerated pace. Therefore, to disseminate information on the methods and approaches in which the agricultural nutrition and enterprise formulation to endorse culture of high nutritional ability can be taken hand by hand, King’s College in collaboration with ISAP, Krishak ra Prabhidi, DV Excellus, Gandaki Urja, EcoHimal, and Baliyo Nepal organized a virtual webinar on the theme “Agriculture Nutrition Pathway: Income Generation to Improving Health” on Monday, September 7. MBA Agribusiness, a wing of King’s College has been regularly committing to develop a collaborative and conducive agricultural ecosystem between several proactive and prominent actors to officially sanction a high culture growth for agribusiness in the country. Attesting to the same ideology, King’s College has been organizing bimonthly Agri Talk programs with an overall objective to impart crucial information and recent developments on different themes and subjects to explore avenues on ingrained problems dominant in the agrarian society of Nepal. Dr. Atul Upadhyay one of the renowned face in the realm of the nutrition and food safety was the speaker of the webinar where he expressed his enriched views on the ways agriculture nutrition can be enhanced in the country and even there exists a potential for development of industries promoting nutrient-rich commodities in the market.
The session proceedings commenced with the speaker providing facts on the horrifying situation South Asian countries including Nepal are facing in the contemporary scenario in aspects of stunted growths and reduction of the income which is further compelling people in consumption of substandard products with low nutritional value. However, he pressed on the views that with changes in the governance system, designing of adequate conducive policies, development of the market infrastructure, agricultural infrastructure, awareness among households, and alterations in the consumption dietary habits among the individuals can play profound role in improving the development of agriculture related business in Nepal and simultaneously upgrading the nutritional intake of the people. The major objective of the entire session was to link the improvements on the nutritional values outcomes that can be witnessed if the agriculture knowledge among the practitioners can be well expanded by equipping them with proper resources and background support.
The expedition to ameliorate the agriculture nutritional pathway, however, is a daunting and tedious process to accomplish considering the devolution of government structure in the country and incoherent division of roles and responsibilities among the stakeholder groups. On the other course, the speaker explained that different private entities have been toiling hard at the best of their capacities to expand the awareness of nutrition among the people through integrated approach of development of agri-entrepreneurship in the related sector. One such example of the company referred was Baliyo Nepal which has launched a massive movement nationwide to popularize the consumption of eggs. Similarly, fortification of the agricultural food products can be an ideal method in adding up the nutrients to the food products and also on similar bases can open a gateway for innovation where different enterprises can sneak in for business growth and income generation. Dr. Atul pointed out that Nepal can even excel at developing different nutritional enriched products through the indigenous livestock and plants available, which even works well in improving the income generation among the indigenous communities.
The speaker was clear enough in his arguments where he specifically mentioned that youth involvement in development of agricultural needs to be imperative if we want to have a major leap from the traditional and orthodox agriculture which has been providing diminishing returns. The government sector needs to play a decisive and integral role in designing conducive agri-environment policies and framework which would be favoring participation of youths and more individuals in the agricultural sector. One of the major shortcoming that is inhibiting the growth of agricultural advancement in Nepal is lack of transfer of the tacit knowledge which have been confined within people, therefore for rapid commercialization of this sector and improving nutritional status, a proper knowledge sharing capacity mechanism needs to be established and enhanced. If and only if agricultural commercialization with all combining actions of major stakeholder prevailing in the sector can be inflated, then the vision of reformulating the food products which are mainly available, accessible and affordable, and the vision of developing an active, energetic and robust set of manpower in the country can be achieved. Hence, Dr. Atul concluded his remarks providing larger emphasis on the role that the private sector entities can play in shifting the demand and supply curve of the food commodities and providing people with nutritious food by enhancing the skill set of food-based entrepreneurs and developing an enchanting environment.