Jagadish Wagle is an expert in sustainable food systems. He has received many accolades for his rigorous research and papers on the subject. A bookworm – as he describes himself in his blog – Wagle has never shied from learning; his bachelor’s degrees in law and education, master’s degrees in economics and food security and development paint a good picture of his thirst for knowledge.
The freelance writer of award-winning blogs, INCOMESCO and Simanta, Wagle, appeared in Desh Sanchar Chautari as a guest to discuss at length on development approach as well as various facets of food security.
“Food security is not just about feeding people enough but rather about food fulfilling people’s both mental and physical needs,” he says, “it is about the all-embracing vital issue involving everything farm to fork.”
Food security is the cornerstone where all aspects of lives intersect. Whether it be environment, health, market, or international relationships, it plays a pivotal part in decision-making. Wagle points to the challenges in food accessibility due to ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine as an instance of how food security came to the front and center of all international diplomatic relations.
The modern development approach has not only disconnected people from the issues concerning food security, but it has also impacted environmental balance. This challenge is rising at an alarming rate and food security should be one of our paramount concerns.
“Nepal is already at the brink of this problem. Lack of acknowledgement to farmers, lack of production modification, and absence of market regulation that aims for wider public health are hindering us in this regard,” he claims, “Sustainable Development Goals might be able to address some of these issues to get us in the right track, but whether we can even accomplish SDGs is a concern in itself.”
“We have to shift our focus from traditional farming approaches to diversification and increment of production from policy level itself,” he suggests, “only then can we take a step in the right direction towards food security in Nepal.” He mentions an example of apples from Jumla. While everyone knows apple farming is common there, it is not readily available for purchase for everyday Nepalese. Policy changes to promote import substitution and internal consumption are all equally needed.
“Nepal cannot easily turn into the industrial sector, emphasizing local production is the way to go forward. We need a development policy that focuses on agriculture,” he reasons, “nation that identifies itself as an agrarian economy must have policies that champion its agriculture sector.”