Importance of Food Self-Sufficiency in Nepal in the Pandemic of COVID-19

Importance of Food Self-Sufficiency in Nepal in the Pandemic of COVID-19

Food self-sufficiency is defined as being able to meet consumption needs from own production rather than by buying or importing, in contrast Food Security is defined as “The access for all the people at all times to enough food for a healthy, active life”(FAO,1996). As Nepal is an agricultural country and is fully dependent on it for employment and economy as a whole. Food Security doesn’t distinguish whether that food is imported from abroad or grown domestically where as food self-sufficiency is a concept which is grown inside the border. In the case of Nepal, food self-sufficiency was achieved among 72% of households in Terai Region while the Mountain Region was only 11%.

Nepal has been experiencing population growth in the recent years. Population is growing and the area for the agriculture has been decreasing rapidly. This has led to import the food products from outside the Nation. But, in this pandemic situation, we are not being able to import goods from our two neighboring countries. Number of people are suffering from acute food insecurity. They are also losing their jobs and their capacity of purchasing food has also decreased. Also, our country’s economy is decreasing. Due to the fear of COVID-19, we cannot even buy the products from outside and our neighbored countries are also facing the same problem. They are also not in the condition of selling the goods, where it is scarce to supply for their own population.

COVID-19 in Nepal has opened the nation’s eyes of the importance of small-scale rural producers for providing the population with fresh and nutritious food. Its havoc has justified the importance of agriculture due to which most of the people have shown interest in agriculture. The pandemic has hit our foreign employment hubs. The number of immigrants have been increased and thus the demand for food has also been increased. Import of products from India is also not possible as it is also facing the same. Also, there is hike in the price of every products due to high demand and less production. The people who used to depend on daily wages for their living are in the condition where they need to think whether to have morning or evening meals or not. Also to feed the whole population and to meet their demand, the farmers are using chemical fertilizers in a huge amount which harms the health of all the people.

In this situation, the only solution is being self-sufficient in food production so that the country could not face the severe food crisis shortly. There is an urgent need for all the people to be self-reliant to fulfill their basic food needs. Food self-sufficiency means being able to meet consumption needs from own production rather than buying or importing. And Nepal has the potentiality to be a self-sufficient country as Nepal is an agricultural country and has diversified land and topography, rich in biodiversity with fertile land. Also, government should encourage farmers to produce huge amount of agricultural products organically which don’t hamper the health of the people by giving subsidy. The reduced import of food from outside the border helps in minimizing the spread of the virus. Consumption of healthy diet helps to improve immunity of people. In this period, it is utmost to consume the foods which are high in nutrient and proteins and which is only possible by adopting sustainable agricultural measures. It also aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and to promote sustainable agriculture. It also plays a role to achieve zero hunger in the developing country like Nepal.

Food self-sufficiency is important because it has direct implications for a country or regions ability to independently meet the dietary needs of its population for sustaining economy. It is time to utilize the youth in the agriculture sector who have returned from foreign as jobless fellows as they have learned new ideas and techniques which can bring much needed revolution in agriculture.

So, we can take this havoc of Corona as an opportunity leading Nepal toward food self-sufficiency by mobilizing human and other resources for adequate production of the food within the country. There is a huge importance of food self-sufficiency in relation to havoc of Corona in Nepal. It cannot be achieved at once which is quite overambitious.  It is possible if we start from our own level and only when the nation gives us full support. Thus, this is the best time to utilize the barren land of our country so that we need not depend on other countries and be successful to make our country a self sufficient.

About the Author:
Pooja Nepal; B.Sc. Ag
Lamjung Campus
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science

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