Agro-grant distribution under scanner

Kathmandu, August 6

The government has begun a probe into agriculture grant distribution process under various headings suspecting misuse of the grant funds.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives (MoALMC) has formed a joint secretary-level probe committee to investigate the entire grant distribution process across country.

The committee has been authorised to collect details of the financial grants that various agencies under MoALMC have provided to farmers under different projects in the last five years, details of areas where the grants have been disbursed and the beneficiaries of the grants and cross-check the authenticity and accountability of every grant distribution process.

The probe committee led by Joint Secretary of MoALMC Tej Bahadur Subedi will have to submit its report to the government within the next week.

Meanwhile, the committee has already asked 21 different bodies under MoALMC to submit the detailed documents of different agriculture grants distributed so far and their respective grant distribution guidelines.

MoALMC has initiated the probe into agro-grant distribution process after it received numerous complaints about government's grant not reaching intended farmers and misuse of funds under the Project for Agriculture Commercialisation and Trade (PACT).

Similarly, the probe committee will also identify the underlying problems behind ineffective implementation of Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, according to MoALMC officials.

Currently, there are 11 agriculture grant projects under MoALMC.

Yogendra Karki, spokesperson for MoALMC, admitted that grant distribution in the agriculture sector has not been much effective and the distribution system has to be made scientific to ensure the grants reach needy farmers.

“We will wait for the probe report and based on its findings and suggestions, MoALMC will adopt different measures to ensure transparency and effectiveness in grant distribution,” said Karki.