Farm strategy with target to double growth rate unveiledThe government on Friday formally launched the highly-anticipated Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS), which is envisaged to transform Nepal’s farm sector in the face of common challenges such as climate change, food price volatility, low productivity and water stress.
The government on Friday formally launched the highly-anticipated Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS), which is envisaged to transform Nepal’s farm sector in the face of common challenges such as climate change, food price volatility, low productivity and water stress.
The ADS has targeted doubling the average annual growth rate of the farm sector to 6 percent from the present 3 percent. The government plans to implement the much-touted farm blueprint with a 20-year vision and a 10-year planning horizon from the next fiscal year. The strategy has recommended spending Rs502 billion over 10 years, or around Rs50 billion annually.
Of the total proposed investment, the government and donor communities will put up 89 percent and the private sector will chip in 11 percent. The ADS will supersede the existing Agriculture Perspective Plan (1995-2015). It was approved by the Cabinet on July 2.
“As the parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resource Committee, farmers affiliated to different political parties and other stakeholders have taken ownership of this farm blueprint, I believe it will not be difficult to implement it,” said Minister for Agricultural Development Haribol Gajurel while launching the document.
The ADS also ensures the establishment of a high-level fully authorized and permanent Farmers’ Commission to help advance farmers’ rights. Gajurel said that the proposed commission would be set up before the draft is implemented. He added that agriculture pocket areas would be developed to effectively implement the project.
The government has envisaged forming five new mechanisms—National ADS Coordination Committee, National ADS Implementation Committee, ADS Implementation Support Unit, ADS Implementation Support Trust Fund and National ADS Implementation Committee—to ensure proper implementation and monitor the ADS project.
The National ADS Implementation Committee will be chaired by the agriculture minister. Likewise, the vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission will chair the ADS coordination committee, and a separate unit will be set up as the ADS implementation support unit.
The document has envisaged a value chain development programme to develop prioritized value chains through increased public private partnership investment and value addition with sector impact and benefits to the poor. Initially, five value chains—maize, dairy, vegetables, lentils and tea—have been proposed.
The ADS is promoting a voucher system for inputs like fertilizer, seeds and breeds and extension services. The voucher system will empower farmers to make decisions regarding extension services and inputs, the document states.
Initially, this system will be promoted on a pilot basis. Based on a review of the performance of the pilot, the system might be expanded and progressively replace direct subsidies such as fertilizer and seed subsidies.
The ADS has targeted increasing land productivity to $4,787 per hectare from the current $1,804.
It also aims to increase labour productivity to $1,833 from $794 per worker. Likewise, exports of farm items have been targeted to increase to $1.9 billion from $248 million through the implementation of the ADS.
The document has envisaged increasing round-the-year irrigation coverage areas to 80 percent from the current 18 percent. One of its ambitious targets is to halve poverty in less than 10 years through an agriculture-led economy.
On July 1, 2013, the ADS formulating team submitted a draft to the government.
The document cost Rs200 million and took 26 months to complete.