Food Safety Challenges

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Climate change has posed a huge threat to the food supply in Nepal. It negatively affects food security by disrupting production, access, and affordability. The increasing temperature is making it harder to grow seasonal food crops. More households have been struggling with food shortages in recent decades. Nepal’s food production depends heavily on erratic rainfall. Thus, even a slight change in weather patterns devastates crop yields. Dependence on rainfall and weather-sensitive agriculture makes its food production very vulnerable to climate change impacts. During dry seasons, there is less surface and groundwater available. There is less water for irrigating winter crops. 


Floods in the summer ruin fertile farmlands. Damage to infrastructure disrupts food transportation, especially in mountainous areas facing high food prices. Farmers who rely on agriculture face huge challenges, even to feed their families and communities. They lack skills and income alternatives beyond farming to cope with the impacts. At local and national levels, the country has very limited capacity to manage the consequences of climate change on food. There is a widespread lack of information about potential threats to agriculture and other sectors. Urgent field research across sectors is crucial to understanding risks and adaptation solutions. It is an essential to protect food security for stability, economic growth, and human wellbeing. 


So, urgent action is required to protect the nation's food security. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has recently instructed officials to prioritise the implementation of the food system transformation programme. The Prime Minister’s call to prioritise food system transformation is both timely and imperative. With climate change severely impacting agricultural productivity, enhancing farmers’ resilience through practices must be an urgent priority. Ensuring all citizens’ right to food security necessitates a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach covering governance, social justice, and economic policies.


Addressing these issues requires a multi-pronged approach, emphasising research, sustainable adaptation measures, and transformative policies. The Prime Minister’s directive to include food system transformation initiatives in the upcoming budget plan is a step in the right direction. However, the real litmus test will be on swift and coordinated implementation across all sectors and stakeholders. Robust strategies backed by political will and coordination among government, civil society, the private sector, and communities will be crucial to translating these commitments into tangible impacts. Also, empowering farmers to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices is vital to this effort. This will boost their ability to withstand environmental changes and increase productivity.

 

Awareness and capacity-building efforts at local and national levels are also crucial to effectively managing climate change impacts on agriculture and other sectors. As the country strives to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and graduate to developing nation status by 2026, ensuring a robust and fair food system is extremely vital. An inclusive approach is essential to overcome deep-rooted challenges and move the nation towards sustainable development goals. With only six years left to achieve the SDGs, complacency is not acceptable. Decisive action is needed. Leaders must demonstrate firm political will and committed efforts to secure food security for all citizens. Only through collective action can Nepal realise its potential and find lasting prosperity amid climate change challenges.  

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