Print Edition - 2016-06-16 | Oped
The modern farmer
Jun 16, 2016-
Nepali agriculture is in the phase of adopting mechanisation and new technologies to grow crops in a more efficient and productive manner. Still hundreds of thousands of hectares of farm land in the country depend on oxen and the wooden plough. It is a subject of concern for people working in the sector of agriculture development that we are still stuck in the conventional phase of farming. In these times when the country has to feed a rapidly swelling population from limited farm land without adopting new methods of cultivation, Nepali farmers are still practicing subsistence farming. Setting aside the difficulty of fulfilling food demand with our ancient agricultural system, we can say that Nepali farming practices are a sound example of eco-friendly cultivation, isn’t it?
Ploughing, harrowing and planking land is making the soil finer; but on the other hand, carbon issuance from the deeply ploughed land is another problem caused by modernisation in the agricultural system. Under the conventional method, using a wooden plough creates furrows that are hardly 10 cm deep, but an MB plough (a modern ploughing tool) digs furrows that are up to 30 cm deep. This condition directly results in loss of moisture from the soil and also kills many advantageous soil microbes and organisms like earthworms. We can take another example too. Using dung manure (which is generally called ‘bhakaare maal’ in Nepali) neither harms the soil’s status nor kills any microbes in the soil. In fact, it is completely free of many disadvantages like nitrogen toxicity that is a common problem in modern granule fertilisers. Nowadays, mulching is rarely practiced on commercial farms because it is quite a tedious job. However, mulching is among the best ways to preserve the moisture status of the soil and increase its organic content.
The point is that we are in need of more food grain and greater production, but we must not forget the benefits of traditional methods of farming too. It is wiser to adopt advantageous practices like mulching and using dung manure along with commercially available fertilisers. We all know that we must preserve the fertility of the soil for sustainable cultivation; but in practice, very few farmers are found to be utilising the soil in a balanced way.
We should always keep in mind that modernisation is not a word that denotes sacks of chemical fertilisers. What is wrong with adopting eco-friendly cultivation practices along with the objective of increasing production in a sustainable way? Modernisation is not just adopting new things in the market. They should be better than those of yesterday. In order to create a better tomorrow, we need to adopt modern technologies and also continue good practices of the past. None of the sound cultivation practices that we used to follow in the past days should be left behind. We should all be dedicated to a sustainable tomorrow.
Published: 16-06-2016 08:40