Hi everyone. Thank you for being here for this new episode of Nepal Now, the podcast where we highlight different ideas and actions to move the country forward. I’m Marty Logan.
Here’s something new — did you know you can listen to Nepal Now on your smart speaker? Just ask Siri, Alexa or whoever you’re talking with to ‘play Nepal Now podcast’ and you’ll hear my voice.
OK, on with this episode, one I really enjoyed because our initial discussion about why the Government of Nepal invested 13 years into improving a strain of rice – even if it is the famous jumli marsi red rice - mophed into a broader chat about poor farmers growing crops for export instead of for personal consumption.
As its name suggests, the rice is grown in Jumla, a district of the Karnali region in west Nepal, typically described as one of the country’s most remote and poorest areas. I remember going there 17 years ago with the World Food Programme as it helicoptered in rice during an ‘emergency operation’ because prolonged drought had withered crops. But things are slowly improving. For example, a major hospital, Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, is regularly praised for providing services, rather than for the lack of such, which is often the reason rural health facilities make headlines.
Today’s guest, senior scientist and molecular breeder Resham Babu Amagain of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, tells us that he thinks the livelihoods of poor farmers are also improving, largely because they are now selling what they grow – to Nepal’s middle class, eager to indulge in what they consider nutritious local food. (A 2018 photo of the current prime minister, and his predecessor, dining on jumli marsi helped to cement the rice’s reputation).
Before we play today’s chat, a quick reminder that you can show your appreciation for the work that goes into making Nepal Now clicking on the white ‘support’ button at the middle left of our homepage and making a contribution. If you have any questions or suggestions about this, or about the show in general — feedback on what you hear, an idea for an episode, or anything at all — you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please listen now to my chat with Resham Babu Amagain.
Kathmandu Post story about the improved jumli marsi
Nepali Times article on jumli marsi
Nepal Agricultural Research Council
Nepal Now social links
Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.
Music: amaretto needs ice ... by urmymuse (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/urmymuse/57996 Ft: Apoxode
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