A Speech By BK Dalit, Young Development Campaigner and Convener of the Nepali Greens
UN Roundtable on Investing in Young People, 19 September 2013, UN Headquarter, New York
First, I would like to thank the United Nations and especially UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth for giving me this opportunity to speak about my youth developmental campaigns in Nepal.
Youth make up 39 percent of the total population. Youth unemployment is the biggest problem in my country. Nearly 38.8 percent of them are unemployed. Out of 76 percent educated youth, nearly 56 percent youth are unemployed. More than 1900 youths migrate overseas daily in search of job. In the last ten years, 2.4 million 37 thousand one hundred 11 youth have migrated abroad. Every year, around 5, 00,000 Nepalese unemployed youth enter the job market. The government makes a goal only to employ 50,000 youth through private sectors. However, the government does not achieve the goal. The Nepali economy is fundamentally agrarian: agriculture contributes to approximately one third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while also being the largest source of informal employment. More than 76 percent people get involved on subsistence farming.
To address the youth unemployment problem through agriculture, I came up with an idea of inspiring, empowering, and engaging unemployed young people on commercial agriculture for self-employment and agro entrepreneurship.
In this regard, I initially developed a concept paper/proposal to empower 100 unemployed youth living in urban areas as a pilot project. I applied for the UN Habitat Urban Youth Fund. The UN Habitat Urban Youth Fund awarded the project proposal “Youth empowerment for green job” in 2010. Through this fund, we launched the project and empowered 100 unemployed youth on commercial organic vegetable farming.
We provided training for knowledge and skill development on how to grow organic vegetables, how to set up and sustain agro-business or enterprise, how to form, develop and manage agro-cooperatives, how to work effectively in a team, how to sell products or do marketing of the agro products to make more income and how to promote agro-business with the use of Information, Communication and Technology tools. After the training, we helped the young people on taking land on lease to set up agro farm. We helped the youth to register their Agro enterprise in the Department of Home Made and Small Cottage Industry, the Office of Company Registrar under the Ministry of Industry. We helped the youth to register their Agricultural Cooperatives in the Department of Cooperatives under the Ministry of Cooperatives.
We forged a partnership with Banks to provide the young people with collateral free loan worth NRs. 0.15 million. Likewise, we forged a partnership with Central Vegetable Seed Production Centre, Ministry of Agriculture Development of Nepal Government for easy access of youth to quality seeds and necessary technical assistance. With this project, we became successful to empower and engage 100 young people on agro entrepreneurship with the fund of UN Habitat Urban Youth Fund and partner organizations. Due to the success of the project, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Nepal Government also supported the project in 2010 and 2011 to replicate in rural areas.
After the completion of the UN Habitat funded project, a large number of unemployed young people visited our office to continue the project activities. But our organization did not have any resources to resume. To continue the project, I came up with a plan of launching “Agricultural school” to empower and further support the young people for agro entrepreneurship. The organic school became Nepal’ first farmer school. Till now, 1457 unemployed young people have benefited from this schooling program. Without even a single rupee of funding support from governmental and donor organizations, we have been able to empower and engage more than 1,000 unemployed young people on commercial agriculture.
The school empowers the young people or young emerging farmers with knowledge, skills, and resources (seed capital or fund in the form of grant or collateral free loan, land on lease, quality agro inputs, and infrastructures) and provides necessary assistance for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) based commercial agriculture. In this regard, we have collaborated with Banks (for access to collateral free loan), Insurance companies (for crop insurance), Private Land Owners ( for access to land) and Ministry of Agriculture etc.
Through this school run under the management of Team for Nature and Wildlife(TNW), I personally aim to inspire, empower, and engage at least 1, 00,000 young people on agro entrepreneurship and contribute for reducing youth unemployment in my country. In this regard, I have a set a goal “1, 00,000 Young Farmer Target”. I have just come to know that more than 73 million young people are unemployed globally. Out of 73 million unemployed youth, I would like to make at least 0.1 million youth self-employed through agriculture.
Once again, I would like to thank for giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of Nepalese young people.
Thank you so much!
09/19/2013 – 00:00