Nepal: Youth Peasants’ Association successfully concludes general assembly

The Youth Peasants’ Association, Nepal, sister organisation of ANPFa and a member of La Via Campesina, recently formed a new central committee comprising 51 members, led by Mr. Utkal Sapkota. The inaugural meeting took place on June 20 and was inaugurated by Dr. Beduram Bhusal, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development. Dr. Bhusal emphasised the importance of involving youth in the Research-Education-Extension chain to bring about reforms in Nepal’s agricultural system. The Minister also mentioned that the process of formulating Acts to implement the ‘Right of Food Sovereignty’ is underway. He further highlighted the prioritisation of youth in the agriculture sector in the recent budget of fiscal year 2080/81, expressing the government’s willingness to collaborate with the ‘Youth Peasants’. During a two-day national assembly, various sectoral training sessions were conducted, covering topics such as Socialist Reform of Agriculture, Value chains, Aquaculture, Livestock Development, and Public Policies for young farmers.

The training commenced with a presentation on the value chain by Dr. Keshav Khadka, the vice chairperson of ANPFa. Dr. Prakash Poudel, a Pest Risk Analyst from the Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre (PQPMC), facilitated a session on improving quarantine efficiency for safe and healthy food, while Subhas Kumar Jha, a Fisheries Development Officer, presented solution-oriented approaches to address challenges in the fisheries sector and engage youth in aquaculture. The first day’s sessions concluded with a presentation by Dr. Avash Poudel, a Livestock Development Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, on youth peasants prospects in livestock and dairy farming.

Ending the first day inaugural session, The ANPFa Chairperson Mr. Balram Banskota delivered a remarks highlighting the significance of income generation to transform agriculture. Banskota also urged the Minister to immediately proceed formulating the regulations to implement the ‘Right to Food Sovereignty’.

Day two began with a motivational session by Dr. Bijay Poudel, Deputy General Secretary of CPN (US) and a Political Economist, depicting the current scenario of the global labour market, youth migration, and agriculture. The Agriculture and Livestock Development Minister of Bagmati Province, Dr. Rajendra Man Shrestha, ended the formal sessions. He highlighted the youth’s potential to contribute innovative ideas, practical solutions, and valuable feedback to shape Nepal’s agri-economic policies and development strategies. Amidst these two, there was an excellent session on ‘Socialist Model of Agricultural Reform’ by Pramesh Pokharel, General Secretary of ANPFa. Along with a thorough analysis of the global political scenario, he linked up how the commodification of agricultural goods and the free trade system have ruined the lives of rural peasants and subsistence farmers. He presented food sovereignty as a principle and agroecology as a practise to proceed towards a self-reliant and sustainable food system.

The assembly declared a 51-member central committee, proportionally representing all seven provinces. The newly elected president, Utkal Sapkota, pointed out the gap between the technical sector and the political leadership of Nepal, which he promised to work to close. He also urged Nepal to expedite the process of formulating and enacting laws that will effectively implement UNDROP, as Nepal is a signatory of the declaration.