Paddy is not only a staple in Nepali cuisine, but also the means of income for many farmers. Agronomist and paddy expert Bholaman Singh Basnet contributed prodigiously to this sector through his long career in research. On August 14, Basnet breathed his last at Om hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19.
Basnet pursued his interest in agriculture from an early age. He obtained his bachelor's degree in agriculture from India. After this, he completed his postdoctoral studies researching paddy in the Philippines.
In over five decades of his professional career, Basnet was involved for a long time as a senior paddy expert at the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC). Here he became the principal scientist for agronomy and retired as Director for Planning and Coordination. With a vision to uplift farmers out of dire economic conditions, Basnet contributed immensely to make sure efficient techniques and technologies were accessible to them.
With this determination to spread knowledge to farmers, Basnet also became active in the media for agriculture news dissemination. Through farming centered programs on television and Radio Nepal, he ensured that relevant information was reaching farmers across the country.
Even after retirement, Basnet was involved in research with the International Rice Research Institute. He explored the conservation of native paddy species, cultivated new varieties of seeds and fostered open debate on such matters.
Basnet also initiated winter paddy plantation in Nepal and was a major proponent of celebrating the 15th of Asar as national paddy festival. He was 71 and is survived by his wife and two daughters.