Jal Devi Bhandari (AFU)
Sustainable development can be understood as a concept that is brought forth to carry out the developmental works in sustainable way. It mainly focuses on fulfilling the needs of present generation by optimum utilization of limited resources in alternative ways taking in consideration the need for future generation. Whereas agriculture is art and science of cultivating crops, rearing fishes and livestock in order to provide food needed for people, recreation and generation of income essential in improving living standards of people. Since sustainable development and agriculture are the two sides of a ladder. They should go side by side without one another collapse. Developmental works without sustainable approach invites natural calamities whereas agricultural practice and developmental strategies comprising sustainable approach last longer driving away the after effect of such technological and institutional advancements.
Sustainable development and agriculture are the subject matter to be spoken again and again until and unless it is embedded in the heart and mind of people. Despite its inclusion in our courses from primary to university level,it’s practical application is dimly visible. This sentence is justified by the occurance of natural calamities such as flood, landslides, soil erosion, spread of epidemic diseases etc.People carry out numerous developmental projects regarding construction of bridge, highways, apartments, railways and many more by destructing the natural environment regardless of its revival. This neither sustains the development nor preserves natural environment, both the factors are equally affected. As a result built infrastructures are ruined within the short span of time which does no good for the survival of living organisms. Their efforts, time, money as well as ecosystem is greatly affected which is why sustainable development should be matter of interest in today’s generation. While speaking of sustainable development, agriculture should not be kept under shadow. Nepal being an agriculture dependent country, sustainable agriculture should be its top priority. It must be the most continually spoken subject matter. Sustainable agriculture’s prime focus is to fulfill the requirement of food and textile of people in a satisfying manner taking in consideration need of future generation. It focuses particularly on the use of organic manure over chemical fertilizers. This greatly enhances the soil fertility, structure ultimately increasingthe productivity. It is also eco-friendly as it contributes in maintaining sound ecosystem by subsiding of soil, air and water pollution, conserving natural heritage which ultimately occludes the extinction of natural inhabitants. Any source of pollution mass results in eutrophication and bioaccumulation but sustainable agriculture techniques minimizes this problem. The various sustainable approaches such as mulching, incorporation of legumes, water management practice are implemented. Mulching greatly suppresses the weed infestation, preventing excess loss water through evaporation thereby increasing water use efficiency. Crop rotation, crop diversification, use of cover crops, trap crops, relay crops are the cropping practices that support higher crop production. The technique of cultivating the legumes alongside other crops fulfills its own nutrient requirement subsiding the use of fertilizers. Similarly, rotation of crops in field, lower pest incidence due to frequent crop change likewise, crop diversification minimizes the risks of diseases and lowers herbicides and pesticides use. In the same way various water management techniques like drip irrigation reduces the water loss.
Sustainable agriculture mitigates human health because they consume products that are pesticides, fertilizer free and non-synthetic and become less prone to illness. Hence we can say that sustainable development and agriculture should be included in the developmental plans and policies. Its inclusion will definitely bring changes in the developmental and agricultural systems of our country. It has mitigated the human and the environmental health.