All systems go for farm modernisation projectAll the procedures for implementing the Rs130-billion Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, which envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity, have been completed, the Ministry of Agricu-ltural Development said.
All the procedures for implementing the Rs130-billion Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, which envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity, have been completed, the Ministry of Agricu-ltural Development said.
In the first year of the 10-year scheme, the ministry plans to spend Rs5.78 billion to adopt modern farming practices. It said that the completed working guidelines for implementing the project and other documents had been submitted to the Finance Ministry for its approval.
“After the Finance Ministry gives the go-ahead, the plan will be tabled at the Cabinet for its final okay,” said Shankar Sapkota, assistant spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry. “We are planning to implement the project officially by mid-September.”
The plan envisages making the country self-reliant in farm products by promoting mechanization, technology and proper and efficient use of seeds and fertilizer to increase productivity.
As per the plan, the government will create 2,100 pocket areas of 10 hectares each, 150 blocks of 100 hectares each, 30 zones of 500 hectares each and seven super zones of 1,000 hectares each. Under the super zones, Jhapa will be promoted for paddy, Bara for fish, Kaski for vegetables, Kavrepalanchok for potato, Dang for maize, Jumla for apple and Kailali for wheat.
“The government will implement the project under a private-cooperative-group partnership model,” said Sapkota. The government has aimed to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat and vegetables by this fiscal year, and in paddy and potato in two years.
The government has targeted becoming self-sufficient in maize and fish by three years, and in fruits like bananas, papaya and litchi by four years. By the end of the project, the plan envisages becoming self-sufficient in fruits like kiwi, apple and orange. The pocket areas will get subsidies on fertilisers and irrigation besides technical support. Easy availability of seeds and saplings will be ensured. Farmers in the blocks, zones and super zones will receive additional benefits including an 85 percent subsidy on the construction of agro production collection centres, warehouses, haat bazaars and processing and training centres.
Those involved in commercial farming in the blocks will get a 50 percent grant to purchase equipment. The government has also announced that services will be provided through 15 mobile laboratories in the specialised agriculture production areas.
According to the statistics of the Department of Customs, Nepal imported agro products worth Rs150 billion in the last fiscal year, setting off concern that the agrarian country’s dependence on imported farm products was ballooning out of control. The jump in shipments has pushed agro commodities to the top of the list of imports, knocking petroleum products from the number one spot.
New initiative to avoid duplication
KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Agricultural Develo-pment is introducing Integrated Subsidy Modalities to avoid duplication of the scheme. Ministry officials said that the objective was also to prevent bogus farmers from receiving subsidies.
The modality will define the amount of the subsidy, areas and targeted people. Likewise, it will also allow the government to make donor-funded projects more transparent amid criticism of growing duplication in the farm sector, ministry officials said.