Nepal is a landlocked country that lies along the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountain ranges. It rises from as low as 59 metres to 8,848 metres and the weather varies from warm to freezing temperatures depending on the diverse areas, which favours the growth of different plants all around the country. Due to its unique geographical position and altitude variation, Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity. However, despite Nepalese natural resources riches, we are not making the most of our country.
Agritourism = ? + ?
‘Agritourism’ comprises two words: ‘Agriculture’, which means the process of cultivation of crops, fruits, vegetables and livestock for business and ‘Tourism’, which refers to the fact of visiting a place. Any agricultural based operation or activity that brings visitors to the farm could also be considered as a way of agritourism, which is itself one of ecotourism’s sectors. People are used to visit these sites mainly to gain information on crops’ cultivation practice to experience how the sowing and harvesting systems work. It helps in showcasing unexplored areas, promoting and developing the economy and lifestyle of local people who live in rural areas.
Thanks to agritourism, people are eager to know how the food is produced as well as to talk with the farmers about everything that is related to its production. Agritourism can be very useful for any nation as it helps visitors to get familiar with the traditional cultivation ways in the areas as well as to share their cultivation practice.
Nepal, an ideal top agritouristic destination
Nepal is an agricultural country where about 65% of the population is involved in agriculture. Thanks to its gifted geographical situation, several cultivation practices of agricultural products in different areas and during the different seasons would make it a top destination for an agritourism trip. For example, while the lower land in Terai could be developed as an area for crops’ production, the hills could serve for fruits’ harvesting and mountains for the livestock production.
Still, in order to make Nepal become this key agritouristic destination, there is a long way to go through.
On the way
High investment and research should be carried out by the national Government in order to uplift Nepalese’s lifestyle and economic status. As there are many beautiful and touristic sites in Nepal to visit, one of the first things that should be improved would be our infrastructure -road networks, communications, lodging as well as food facilities-.
Many NGO's are running already projects to develop agritourism, but it is not enough. The Government agencies, the civil society, the organizations that are involved within the agricultural sector and the youth particularly as it represents Nepal's present and future, have a great role in developing agritourism and therefore there should be a closer collaboration among all them.
Picture credit: Typical fishing, by Biju Joshi.