Ashadh 15 is marked as a special day for the farmers celebrating as a festival but paying more attention to field work than feasting. In the modern days, Rastriya Dhaan Diwas or National Paddy Day has been celebrated as an annual festival on the 15th of Ashadh (usually late June) every year. As paddy is the most dominating crop in Nepal, it represents entire agriculture sector in a way.
In the past, Renewable Energy Confederation of Nepal (RECON) has organized interaction programmes to discuss on the enhancing agriculture with support of renewable energy technologies. So as the confederation has been successful in raising the issues with government agencies, development agencies, financing institutions, academia, experts and private sector to prioritise renewable energy technologies for agricultural sector to gather strength. The findings of the discussions and interactions were submitted to the authorities, planners and policymakers for formulating better policies. RECON efforts showed useful impacts but still much more to achieve. As such, the experiences and learning from past events are encouraging for RECON itself, its associates and well wishers.
The Government of Nepal, Provincial Governments, Local Governments and other institutions are seriously taking food materials to grow more to feed more. Mechanisation, irrigation, better seeds, fertilisers, postharvest management and farmer friendly market systems have been matters taken into focus. Plans and programmes are designed extensively. However, experts and professionals find that implementation procedures should be truly honest and practicable. Therefore, a different campaign for desirable result by effective implementation has been a true need that the stakeholders are expected to forge synergy. So as quantity and quality agricultural output will reduce cost of production and reduce volume of bill to pay against import of food materials.
RECON has been putting efforts on well utilisation of renewable energy technologies for agriculture, industries, mobility and clean cooking solutions.
Solar PV pumping for irrigation is one important technology that farmers are using. There are still vast amount of arable lands where such technology may be utilised. Likewise, Solar driers, Solar powered cooling systems and agro-processing technologies may be operated by energy generated by Solar PV, Microhydro or wind energy. Likewise, waste generated by agricultural activities, forest waste and domestic waste may be utilised to generate energy through biogas technology. Similarly biogas plants of domestic, institutional, municipality or large size produce slurry, as a by-product but better quality organic fertilisers.
On Tuesday, June 29 (2078 Asar 15) RECPON organised a webinar on ZOOM Platfrom. Former Minister Er. Ganesh Shah was the chief guest of the event and Executive Director of Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) was special guest. The event was presided over by Chairperson of RECON Mr. Guna Raj Dhakal. He was also the moderator of the webinar.
Chief guest Shah, on the occasion said that the government sector, private sector and universities should work together on research, studies and conducting human resource development activities. Financial and market systems are also equally important to consider, he opined. Moreover, the policies should aim uplifting living standard of the farmers, he stressed. Therefore, AEPC, RECON and other such institutions should work together.
Similarly, special guest Mr. Adhikari informed that AEPC has been successful in promoting renewable energy technologies for the development of agriculture sector as well. We should be able to support diversification of agriculture utilising renewable energy technologies, he added. Important and valuable ideas and recommendations of such discussions should be well utilised. Higher level dialogues can be instrumental in formulating better policies and programmes, he stressed.
On the online event, Mr. Kushal Gurung who is vice president if Water and Energy Consultants Association Nepal (WECAN) and Managing Director Gandaki Urja Pvt. Ltd. elaborated present situation of biogas plants in Nepal and potentials of biogas plants to contribute to agriculture sector. He mentioned that besides producing gas, all biogas plants produce slurry which is high quality fertiliser for agriculture. Adding bio-char with bio-fertiliser results better for crops and enhancing soil quality.
Solar PV expert and Chief of SunFarmer Nepal Mr. Avishek Malla stated that Solar PV Pumping Systems are doing better for irrigation. The farmers are getting better crops and they have been able to cultivate their farms in all seasons. For the benefit of more farmers the Government and concerned to agencies should support to install extensively. Likewise, cooling systems for storage, dryers and agro-processing should be promoted extensively, he said.
Senior Scientist of National Agriculture Research Centre Dr. Sudha Sapkota, Associate Professor of Kathmandu University Dr. Sunil Lohani, Gender and energy specialist Dr. Indira Shakya, Innovation specialist Mr. Shashi Bhattarai, President of Solar Electric Manufacturers Assocaition Nepal Mr. Indra Khanal, President of Nepal Biogas Promotion Association Nepal Prakash Chandra Subedi, Assistant Director of AEPC Mukesh Ghimire, Laxman Uprety expressed their views on various aspects linked to the development of agriculture by ultilising renewable energy technologies.
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