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Is Nepal really an agricultural country?

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Earlier this week, a news story popped up in our national dailies that said that at a village in Bajura, local farmers had to feed their apples to cattle owing to lack of proper transportation and market for their otherwise lucrative product. This news, on the face of Kathmandu-based rhetoric of agricultural modernization and the so called Prime Minister Agricultural Modernization Program initiated by the earlier government, shows the real situation of our agricultural status. It shows how apathetic our leadership and policy-makers are when it comes to being accountable for our agricultural development.
While the whole world is pacing towards new innovations for sustainable living, there has been a constant downfall of Nepali Agro based industries in last few decades, whereas the demand of food has increased by almost double-fold. At the time when our neighboring nations are profiteering from higher agricultural achievements in laboratories and in fields, we are not even being able to produce enough food for ourselves, let alone exporting. Given the national workforce (more than 65%) that toils in agricultural sector, production is in a pitiful, derogative condition. Governmental investment for agriculture every year almost reserves around 30% of the total budget, but when it comes to substantial results, we are doomed.
In 2011 only, statistics show that India had 14% GDP contribution from industries and Bangladesh had 17% while for Nepal it was just 7%. This figure, instead of growing towards double digit, has been shrinking more and more with each year we pass. This is a result of a prolonged transitive mindset that our political leadership wants to perpetuate for the interest of their benefits while it mars the national development. This is what happens when a nation fails to produce, when we don’t have industries that link up to the farms and communities.
We teach our school-children that Nepal is a nation based on agriculture, but they’re innocent of the reality of our agricultural scenario. In Nepal, we have a notion of taking things for granted, we believe what we’re told to believe. We’ve been taught to believe that we are an agricultural nation, and we swallowed that with ease. But let’s see the flip side. Here are a few agriculture related industries that the national governance system has failed to maintain and promote, and hence been closed/degraded:
                     Jute mills: Few decades earlier, Jute Development Board had been established that had aimed to do research on seeds, research and technology transfer and product refinement, but the subsequent governments failed to maintain that resolve, and we all now know that there is no scope now for Jute farmers, and the industries that once known all over south Asia have now ended up as ruins.
                     Textiles and cotton industry was also initially established with Chinese support; and it had boosted the cotton production across Nepal. But the so called leaders, instead of lobbying for modernization and technology development, of ne Cotton Development Board, and now there are hardly any cotton industries in Nepal.
                     Agricultural Tools Industry was opened in Birgunj with the help of the then USSR. But owing to lack of commitment from our leadership, it was closed within a short span of few decades.
                     Janakpur Cigaratte Factory was once the pride of Nepal. It was a source of employment for thousands of Nepali. But sadly, Tobacco Development Board that once dreamed of connecting farmers with industry is now dysfunct, thanks to our so called leaders of new Nepal!
                     Birgunj Sugar Mill too has suffered a similar fate. At present, we hear news of farmers protesting about the low payback for their sugarcanes, as they are compelled to sell their raw materials to the Sugar mills across the border.
All of these instances are few epitomes of the downfall of our agricultural and industrial efficiency. Many other sectors, like Trolley Bus in the Kathmandu Valley and the Hetauda-Kathmandu ropeway, have also undergone relatable extinction. If we are to march towards prosperity as a nation, such myopic interventions from the governmental agencies should be avoided at any cost.
The real problems revolve around the tragic fact that policies have never benefitted the beneficiaries. Because of the outright corruption and political division, the allocated money never reaches the actual communities in need. There are a lot of I/NGO’s that are supposedly working on issues of farmer empowerment, crop protection and development, but none seem to have an effective impact in our agricultural systems.   As a result, in spite of ample production, we are not being able to sell our products to the market. Isn’t it strange that we import almost everything we eat – from rice to wheat to grams to packed foods – while our fresh apples rot to the earth owing to the lack of proper marketing and transportation?
This paradox revolves around the popular, sometimes highly revered conception of pseudo-modern Nepali society that finds land owning quite attractive whereas farming is often loathed. Such a deep-rooted false perception can’t be eliminated overnight, but it is possible if new scientific and profitable approaches are adopted for agriculture and farming. There is an ample space for agricultural entrepreneurship, especially in cities like Kathmandu where civilians are willing to pay rather a higher price if they’re guaranteed with healthy organic foods. For this to happen, newer technologies need to be adopted for producing our food. From vegetables to cereals, fruits and staple diets, it is possible to multiply the yield if we apply latest scientific findings to our fields. Also, we still lack a proper marketing and advertisement of our products. The apples that are being wasted could be very potent raw material for a wine company, but we are failing to develop a strong link between farmers and industries. Transportation is a basic factor when it comes to production and market reach. Sadly, as of now, if we don’t plan and act strategically, our apples seem to be bound to suffer similar fate in years to come. For this, a complete sense of responsibility needs to be planted into the hearts of bureaucrats and policy-makers such that they realize the real woes of our citizens, especially in the remote villages and hills.
Recently, we’ve heard a lot that Nepal has become independent on poultry farming. While some bureaucrats and leaders brag over this so called achievement, the normal public is always unaware to the fact that a large portion of poultry-feed is still imported from India. Saying that we’re independent in such a pretext is nothing more than a shallow, facile attempt of deceiving the economically marginalized communities of this nation. Rather than selling false pride, government needs to focus on developing programs that empower local farmers for scientific and sustainable methods of farming. Rather than clinging to the subsistence-oriented and traditional farming, training should be provided to the farmers for introducing new and effective methods of production and farming.
Political leadership is completely aware, yet unwilling to address the real concerns. It doesn’t have time to envision the future and come up with strategic planning to tackle the food insecurity, agricultural decline and its impacts on public health. This being said, we should not undermine that few agro ventures have been successfully running in this last few years. Even without any visible support from the governmental agencies, youths in different parts of Nepal have started setting up farms, dairy industries, organic fertilizers production and other similar small to medium scale businesses. From ostrich to organic vegetable farms, people have slowly started seeing agriculture as a respectable and profitable occupation. It’s a silver lining that may be we’re now ready for a paradigm shift, a drift from the social conditioning that trains us to see working at farms as some low profile job.
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Knowledge & Infos

What’s Special Today: November 10

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Chhath:

Historically native to the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand and the southern part of Nepal, Chhath is one of those festivals that transcends the caste system that exists in the society. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartik. The Chhath Puja is a 4-day long ritual specially offered to the solar deity, Surya, to show thankfulness for good health, good life and to request the granting of some certain wishes.

Day 1: On the first day, the devotees after bathing clean their house and eat the food that is offered to the god to protect the mind from the vengeful tendency.

Day 2: On the second day, the devotees are not allowed to drink even a single drop of water but, in the evening, they eat kheer made up of jaggery, fruits.

Day 3: The evening of the third day which is also known as sandhya ‘arghya’ day where a bamboo basket is decorated with various puja materials, fruits, thekuwa, and laddus which are offered as an ‘argya’ to the Sun. Also, the Chhathi Maiya is worshipped.

Day 4: On the last day of Chhath puja again an arghya is offered to the Sun God but this time in the morning. The devotees go to the riverbank to offer arghya to the rising sun and break their fast and conclude their four-day long worship.

Happy Chhath to everyone! Don’t forget to enjoy some thekuwas!!

World Keratoconus Day:

Every year on November 10, World Keratoconus Day is celebrated to focus global attention on keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders. The day was first celebrated by National Keratoconus Foundation.

Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to become weak, leading to the thinning and stretching of the cornea, which may result in the loss of vision. Keratoconus is degeneration of the structure of the cornea. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape which affects the vision. The keratoconus mainly develops in teenagers and young adults and the disease keeps on growing, if not diagnosed in time.  

The disease has no prevention and no treatment. With early diagnosis, the disease can be managed and further damage can be protected. In Nepal, the prevalence of Keratoconus is 1 in 2000 according to the recent journal. So, this world keratoconus day, make a commitment to visit an eye doctor once a year for the early diagnosis of keratoconus as well as other eye diseases.

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KMAG Online Writing Workshop reading materials

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Day 1

Covers communication and types of writing. Please check the following articles.

  1. What is communication and how to communicate effectively?
  2. Types of Writing

Also, check out: How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it)

Day 2

Covers content management system/WordPress, and how to introduce yourself. Please check the following articles.

  1. What is WordPress and How to work in WordPress
  2. How to introduce yourself.

Day 3-5

Covers the basics of expository writing and CV writing.

Day 6

Covers persuasive writing.Please check the following articles.

  1. HOW TO WRITE AN OP-ED: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  2. Handout of video class.

Day 7-9

Covers how to write research-based opinion writing.

  1. How to frame an argument
  2. How to write an opinion piece

Day 10

Personal journal writing (my diary)

Day 11-13

Figure of speech and rhetoric.

Day 14-16

How to frame questions.

  1. Art of questioning

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Types of Figure of Speech with examples (Part 1)

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Accumulation

Accumulation is a figure of speech, in which the points made previously are presented again in a compact, forceful manner. It often employs the use of climax in the summation of a speech.

Examples:

  1. We learned communication, we learned types of writing, we learned rhetoric, we learned figure of speech. In all this, we made new friends, we spent hours together.
  2. He founded Nepal; fought for unification, fought for diversity. Leaving wife and child home, he set to occupy the land of people, land of flowers and trees. And he built a country that we call Nepal.
  3. Your organization, your vigilance, your devotion to duty, your zeal for the cause must be raised to the highest intensity.” Winston Churchill, Speech, 14 July 1941. (This sentence comes after a lengthy passage in which Churchill warns the public that their courage and effort are still needed to defeat the enemy).

Adomination

A figure of speech that refers to the repetition of words with the same root word.

Examples:

  1. I will be somewhere, someday, settled with somebody in some place.
  2. I am nobody, reaching no where in this no man’s land.
  3. In the vastness of universe, I am vastly clueless.

Alliteration

A literary stylistic device, where a series of words in a row have the same first consonant sound.

Examples:

  1. Nepalese never nag about Nepal not nationalising.
  2. Looks like lion likes licking lizard.
  3. Come count my comb.

Adynaton

A figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to insinuate a complete impossibility.

Examples:

  1. I will meet you when sun rises from west.
  2. Before I finish the work, I will grow a horn.
  3. Stone will talk but she won’t.

Anacoluthon

Derives from the Greek word anakolouthon, literally means “lacking sequence”, is a figure of speech which consists in the abrupt disruption in syntax. Opens in new window resulting from two non-parallel grammatical constructions.

Examples:

  1. I am hungry – have you never played football?
  2. I miss the burgher at – did you see my daughter?
  3. Never in my life – what’s in your mind?

Anadiplosis

The repetition of the last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence..

Examples:

  1. It’s midnight. Midnight with stars. Stars with the moon. Moon looking at my window. Window hiding me.
  2. “Fear leads to angerAnger leads to hateHate leads to suffering.”
  3. “Your beliefs become your thoughtsyour thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Anaphora

A rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis.

Examples:

  1. When you felt like giving up, when you felt like crying, when you felt like hitting the wall, just do it.
  2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way
  3. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Anastrophe

A figure of speech in which the normal word order of the subject, the verb, and the object is changed.

Examples:

  1. Instead of I like Nepal, “Nepal I like.”
  2. World I want to change.
  3. I, her will keep loving till the end

Anti-Climax

It is when a specific point, expectations are raised, everything is built-up and then suddenly something boring or disappointing happens.

Examples:

  1. He killed the king, freed the people, and took the sword and killed himself.
  2. People, pets, batteries, … all are dead.
  3. He loved her so much …he killed her.

Anthimeria

is the usage of a word in a new grammatical form, most often the usage of a noun as a verb.

Examples:

  1. Can you please google to find out the meaning of “anthimeria”? (google is actually noun)
  2. The thunder would not peace at my bidding.
  3. Let’s do some eating. (verb being used as noun)

Antimetabole

the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order.

Examples:

  1. Eat to live, not live to eat
  2. All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime.
  3. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

Antistrophe

The repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences.

Examples:

  1. There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.
  2. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
  3. Nepal is beautiful. Nepalese are beautiful. Her style is beautiful. Her heart is beautiful.

Antithesis

is used in writing or speech either as a proposition that contrasts with or reverses some previously mentioned proposition, or when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect.

Examples:

  1. I am rich man who longs for a poverty.
  2. When in war, we long for peace; when in peace, we long for war.
  3. Let’s play with the fire to feel the rain.

Aphorismus

It often appears in the form of a rhetorical question which is meant to imply a difference between the present thing being discussed and the general notion of the subject. Statement that calls into question the definition of a word.

Examples:

  1. You eat meat and you call yourself animal lover?.
  2. How can you call this country a peaceful country when everywhere is chaos?.
  3. How am I even a writer with this kind of writing?

Aposiopesis

A figure of speech wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue.

Examples:

  1. Please leave my home or else – !.
  2. I want to go home now. If not.
  3. And she left with. I don’t even want to share.

Apposition

Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side and so one element identifies the other in a different way.

Examples:

  1. Nepal, my home, is where I want to die.
  2. My brother, Mr. Suresh, is joining me.
  3. Mr. Oli, a famous politician, is giving a speech.

Assonance

Repetition of vowel sounds

Examples:

  1. Reave, please leave.
  2. Hire and fire.
  3. Write so bright that it will frighten right.

ASTEISMUS (not needed but know it anyway)

he rhetorical term for achieving polite or soft mockery whereby the replier catches a sensitive word and redirects it back to the interlocutor with an unexpected twist. Example:

  • Judge: You’re charged with vagrancy. Are you guilty or not guilty?
    Ollie: Not guilty, Your Highness.
    Judge: On what grounds?
    Stan: We weren’t on the grounds. We were sleeping on the park bench.

Asyndeton

A literary scheme in which one or several conjunctions are deliberately omitted from a series of related clauses.

Examples:

  1. He ran, he climbed, he conquered .
  2. I wanted to participate, i made it.
  3. Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Cataphora

Co-reference of one expression with another expression which follows it, in which the latter defines the first. 

Examples:

  1. If you want to eat something, there is pizza in the freeze.
  2. If you want her, she is Ms. Lisa.
  3. He is an idiot. He is a douche. He is lazy. He is my friend, Nishant.

Climax

a figure of speech in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. Or say, a figure of speech in which successive words, phrases, clauses, or sentences are arranged in ascending order of importance, as in “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

Examples:

  1. When there is job, when there is peace, and when there is love, happiness occurs.
  2. We want freedom, liberty and democracy.
  3. Men and women are equal, but above, it’s the responsibility.

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