Govt all set to form commission to boost agriculture sectorThe government is all set to constitute a farmers’ commission with the aim of ensuring farmers’ rights and restoring pride and confidence in the agricultural sector.
The government is all set to constitute a farmers’ commission with the aim of ensuring farmers’ rights and restoring pride and confidence in the agricultural sector.
Uttam Kumar Bhattarai, secretary of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, said on Wednesday that the government was preparing to form the commission through a regulatory order as it would take time to create it through an act. “We will soon be tabling a proposal at the Cabinet for its approval.” “The farmers’ commission, which has been envisaged by the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) and the government’s 27-point commitment on agriculture, will ensure the rights of farmers in various aspects.”
He added that it would be easy for the government to implement its farmers’ pension plan once the commission is constituted. The body, the first of its kind in Nepal, will play a key role in
protecting farmers and enhancing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the farming systems of the country.
Addressing a review meeting of the ministry’s 27-point commitment launched on November 29, 2015 to address the grievances of the farm sector, Bhattarai said that the government was planning to appoint agro and livestock technicians at all the village councils.
“We have planned to send one agro or livestock technician each to 3,000 village councils in the first phase by this fiscal year,” he said, adding that the ministry had sent the related working guideline to the Finance Ministry for its approval.
The ministry said that it would also be implementing the minimum support price (MSP) of major farm products like paddy, maize, wheat and sugarcane by this fiscal year.
The MSP is a form of market intervention by the government to ensure that farmers get reasonable prices for their produce in the event of any sharp fall in farm prices.
If the market price drops below the MSP, the government will buy the farm produce at the rate fixed. Moreover, it discourages middlemen who normally determine market prices.
The government has also planned to categorize farmers into four groups—commercial, subsistence, landless and farm labour—for the purpose of distributing identity cards which will entitle them to receive state subsidies and facilities.
Meanwhile, Minister for Agricultural Development Haribol Gajurel said that despite the hardships caused by the April 25 earthquake and subsequent trade embargo by India, the government had done its best to distribute chemical fertilizers to farmers. “Despite having adequate stocks of chemical fertilizers, we were not able to supply them to farmers,” he said. “As a result, summer crops, particularly paddy production, dropped significantly.”
He added that given the current rainfall pattern, the outlook for wheat production was also not good. The ministry has estimated that the country’s agriculture growth will remain contracted at 1 percent this fiscal year.