Nepal, the Himalayan kingdom, is trying to be self-sufficient in food security. In this effort and to overcome the problem of affordability of expensive farm machinery, the Nepalese are looking towards India.
A nine-member delegation of senior farm officials from Nepal recently arrived in India for five days and visited Fazilka-based agriculture resource centre "Zamindara Farmsolutions" to study the custom hiring services model in the country.
The project 'Policy Reform Initiative Project (PRIP)' for Agricultural Development & Food Security in Nepal is focused on strengthening Nepal's seed system, promoting contract farming, mechanisation, rationalising fertiliser subsidy and improving fertiliser use efficiency, formulation besides introducing a new food safety policies.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture Development, Nepal, and other stakeholders to provide exposure to Nepal through capacity-building programme in creating awareness and sensitisation and consolidate the food security system in Nepal.
Zamindara Farmsolutions has been facilitating world-class farming solutions and equipment to farmers to improve economic conditions in the agrarian sector and its efforts were acknowledged by global agencies like CSAM United Nations and USAID.
The delegation members visited different villages of Fazilka and Muktsar districts to meet village-based entrepreneurs associated with Zamindara Farmsolutions in custom hiring services and making a living out of it.
They were particularly impressed with the efforts of Amrik Singh of Aspaal village, who was an ordinary driver seven years ago, but is now a proud owner of two machines and has a house of his own.
The Napelese delegation also visited the biomass power plant at Gadadoab village in Abohar and the international mega food park at Dabwala Kalan in Arniwala.
"With a large number of farmer families of Punjab being associated with us through our custom hiring services model for agriculture equipment and expertise, we believe that this model can be implemented in Nepal to increase mechanisation and income from agriculture," said Vikram Ahuja, director, Zamindara Farmsolutions.
Jagannath Tiwari, senior agricultural engineer, Directorate of Agricultural Engineering (DoAE), Department of Agriculture, Government of Nepal, said, "The 'Chaalak Bane Maalik' (farmers becoming machine owners) model has increased the social value of farmers as well as their economic status. This specific model can certainly be replicated in Nepal."
Sangita Shreshta, senior agricultural engineer, Directorate of Agricultural Engineering (DoAE), Nepal, said that she would definitely carry back the knowledge she gained on how to set up custom hiring services systematically. Her experience in Fazilka has left an indelible mark on her and she is keen to plan more interactions with Zamindara in the future.
Lakshmi Kant Pandey, director of Global Food, remarked, "The major problem in agriculture today is retaining the interest of farmers and their children in the sector." Zamindara Farmsolutions has shown a way to make the agriculture industry more lucrative and profitable. The business models developed by the company assure a promising future for the youth employed in the sector and will reduce the tremendous out flux.