Harnessing Renewable Energy Could Transform Food Security In Hindu Kush Himalayas, Say Experts

Experts at a regional conference in the Hindu Kush Himalayas emphasize the potential of harnessing renewable energy to revolutionize food security and agriculture productivity in the region.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Source:&nbsp;<a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Karsten Würth</a> on <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>)</p></div>
(Source: Karsten Würth on Unsplash)

Harnessing renewable energy could revolutionise food security in the mountainous region of the Hindu Kush Himalayas, experts, including from India, said here on Tuesday.

The remarks were made at a regional conference titled 'Advancing Productive Uses of Renewable Energy in Agriculture in the Hindu Kush Himalayas' and hosted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in collaboration with the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, Nepal.

Over 100 participants, including development partners, civil society members, environmental experts, private sector representatives and government officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan attended the conference, according to a press release issued by the ICIMOD.

“Rising temperatures are compounding the risks to food security in the mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalayas. Traditional irrigation methods and limited access to energy are hindering agricultural productivity in these high-altitude regions,” the experts pointed out.

The Hindu Kush Himalayas is a region that extends 3,500 km over Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

Clean energy – hydro, solar, biomass and wind – is abundant in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the release said.

With rising temperatures compounding the risks to food security, experts argue that it’s crucial that agriculture, which provides one-fifth of the region’s gross domestic product, embrace renewables’ potential to transform yields, and food security, and to transition away from polluting energy sources, it said.

During the conference, India’s Dr Nitin Goel elaborated on how solar energy could be used for installing cold storage systems, a mechanism he developed in India. Another Indian expert, Prof Abid Haleem, demonstrated the relevance of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture such as weather forecasting and employing efficient paste plant control systems.

Niraj Shrestha of Nepal gave a presentation on solar thermal applications in Nepal’s agriculture sector.

The participants at the conference explored the potential of renewable energy sources to transform mountain farming. The event brought together stakeholders to discuss strategies for scaling up these solutions for mountain communities in the HKH region, the release said.

In her keynote speech, Shabnam Shivakoti Aryal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, underscored the crucial role renewable energy could play in enhancing productivity in the agriculture sector.