Agriculture is the production of food or other materials by farming, both by planting crops and keeping animals. It provides food for people and animals as well as raw materials for industries. Animals are reared for milk, meat, fur, wool etc to be used as raw materials by the industries. Some modernized agriculture has highly specialized on very few or sometimes a single crop. Types of crops cultivated and species of animals reared and their products depends on climate, a fertility of soil, a technology used etc. application of the improved irrigation system, seeds, and fertilizers, trained, modern tools etc can help to grow the products.
Nepal is an agricultural country but hardly 20% of the total land is under cultivation and farming must provide food for the population. The population is increasing by nearly 2% every year (that's nearly 5, 00,000 people) but the land which can be cultivated remains the same, even occupied growingly by settlement and industries.
Agriculture is very important economic activity in Nepal. It is a non-alternative occupation for the mass of unskilled people. Nepal's varied climate and soil type can be suitable for growing diverse crop types and animal species. Agriculture supports nearly 40% of the national economy. It provides raw materials for many industries.
We have not been able to improve our agriculture a lot. It is in still traditional and labour-intensive. Subsistence nature and lower productivity are its major characteristics. The agriculture sector has been given due priority by all the economic plans; still expected outcome has not been seen.
The following factors are responsible for our agricultural backwardness.
Nepalese agriculture used traditional methods of farming. Agricultural tools are not advanced. Due to traditional farming, work is very difficult and production in low. Farmers are not skilled in the methods of the modern agriculture. They are also not healthy enough to realize the potential of their farms. Crops and grains are destroyed by pests, insects, and weeds. Animals also cannot give good yield when they suffer from diseases.
We have not been able to utilize our vast water resources to irrigate the cultivable land. Hardly about 20% of the total land under cultivation has good irrigation facilities. So farmers have to depend highly on monsoon rain which in not timely and reliable. In winter, much of the farmland remains unused due to the lack of irrigation facilities. During each monsoon landslides and floods excessive rain damage of the crop land.
Due to lack of market, our agro-based products rot in the places where they are grown. Food grains grow in the Terai cannot be transported to other areas easily nor can fruits such as apple grown in the north easily get a market in the south. Due to lack of storage facilities , agricultural products suffer low price.
Land distribution in not scientific and democratic. Those who are actual tillers don't own land at all while those who don't even tread field hoard huge areas of land and leave it uncultivated. Fertile valley and plains are being occupied by the settlement and industries. Besides, there in over-fragmentation of agricultural land i.e. broken into too small parcels. It is difficult to cultivate such parcels. All this results in low production.
Less than 20% of total area of Nepal in under cultivation. But over 60% of population overburdens the land. With rapid population growth, a number of farmers cultivating the same field in increasing. When the share of land for a farmer gets very low, per capita production decreases.
Nepalese farmers are subsistence farmers. They are compelled to take the loan even to run their family. They born in debt and die in debt. Interest rates are high. Much of their production goes in paying interests. In such conditions, they cannot afford to apply new technology and machinery to improve farming.
A certain soil type and climate type in suitable for one or few crops. There are diverse climate and soil types in Neal. But there have not been enough researches and experiments to find the best crops and the best climate and soil type. Government plans and endeavors are quite insufficient in this regard.
The following measures should be taken to improve Nepalese agriculture: -
An industrialized country is different from an agricultural in following ways:
|Industrialized Country||Agricultural Country|
|This countryhas many towns and small amount of land available for agriculture.||This country contains very few industries.|
|This country's citizen have huge farmland but farmed by small number of farmers.||Most of the population owns, or works on, small amount of land.|
|Most people are working on industries or services, and food is imported from all over the world.||Most of the people are farmers but the produce is not enough for the year.|
In order to raise the living standard of rural people, agriculture should be developed because Nepal is an agricultural country. Although being an agricultural country, hardly 20% of the total land is devoted for cultivation. Agriculture is still the first occupation for the mass of unskilled people. But if the farmers are given modern equipment and trainings, they can yield crops faster and easier. The time consumption will decrease almost to half as compared to before. This will attract other farmers and encourage them to yield more crops. Due to which, not only will they grow more but also higher living standard.
Agriculture and Trade are like the two sides of a coin. Neither of them can sustain without each other. Without the contribution of agriculture these industries come to closure owing to the lack of their raw materials. A farmer gets market to his products through trade and industries. Industries produce agriculture tools, chemical fertilizer, pesticides, etc. By applying these things a farmer can modernize and improve his farming. Therefore, when trade and industries develop, agriculture is benefited and when agriculture develops industries benifits.
As Nepal is an agricultural country, its economy is excessively dependent in agriculture. Agriculture is one of the means of employment for living and earning. It is the base of industry and foundation of development. It is a source through which Nepal acquires 40% of national income and more than half of its export. About 81% people are engaged in agricultural occupation but the arable or cultivable land is very limited and scattered. The farmers and their entire family work hard from dawn to dusk for sheer sustenance. They grow very little crops. So they still have hand-to-mouth problem and do not have any surplus crops and savings. They do not have sufficient education or trainings for other jobs. The high rate of unemployment is disguised in agriculture. People remain idle for almost half of the year as they heavily depend on monsoon.
Agriculture, industry and trade are the main components that develop the economy of the country. Agriculture feeds the country, industry makes the country economically strong and trade makes the country economically stronger. But all these aspects are not independent of each other. They depend upon each other for their smooth running. Industry depends upon agriculture for raw materials without which they cannot run. Thus, agriculture makes the back bone of the industry. All the goods produced by industry cannot be only sold in the country itself. The industry has to depend upon other nations for additional profit. So agriculture, industry and trade are closely related.
The crops grown in Nepal are :
Nepal is called an agricultural country because:
There is a vast difference in the agricultural situation of underdeveloped country and developed country. In the underdeveloped country, most of the people are engaged in agriculture. Almost all the cultivable land is used for agriculture. They practice subsistence type of agriculture. However, they become unsuccessful in producing all the necessary food stuffs. Their production hardly sustains them for 10 months. Unlike this the people in developed countries practice systematic farming. They cultivate the same crop in a big piece of land and use machines for everything. It is business oriented farming. Every necessary thing for farming is provided by government. The production is very high. They are far ahead in the system of agriculture.