Farmers slam provision to allow FDI in agriculture production
- Rules in Foreign Investment Act draft clashes with ADS
Kathmandu, November 21
Farmers have criticised the provision in the draft bill of Foreign Investment Act which allows foreign investment in agriculture production in Nepal.
Trade unions of farmers affiliated with different political parties and other peasants’ association have said that foreign investment in agriculture production is against the interest of Nepali farmers and puts livelihood of farmers at risk. Moreover, farmers have said that the provision to allow foreign investment in agriculture production clashes with the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) adopted by the government, which discourages foreign investment in agriculture inputs.
“Allowing foreign investment in agriculture production is a direct threat to local farmers and all other small Nepali agro entrepreneurs,” Bhanu Sigdel, chairman of Nepal Farmers’ Association (NFA), said adding that such provision is not only distressing for farmers but will also increases country’s economic dependency.
The draft bill of Foreign Investment Act has allowed foreign investment of over Rs 200 million in agriculture production, excluding value of land. Similarly, the draft bill of the act has also welcomed investment above Rs 200 million in poultry, fishery and beekeeping sectors.
“Implementation of such provision will displace large number of farmers in the country from their jobs. We urge the government to remove such provisions in the draft bill,” added Sigdel.
Chitra Bahadur Shrestha, president of All Nepal Peasants Federation (Revolutionary), said that draft bill’s provision to allow foreign investment in agriculture production is against the spirit of ADS, which allows foreign investment only in processing and marketing industry in Nepal’s agriculture sector.
“Provision of foreign investment in agriculture production directly contradicts the spirit of ADS which was approved by Agriculture and Water Resource Committee of the Parliament and endorsed by the then Cabinet in 2014,” Shrestha said, adding that the government should properly discuss with stakeholders of country’s agriculture industry before introducing any provision that can have wide scale impact in the sector.
Shankar Sapkota, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Agricultural Development, also said that government’s provision in draft bill of Foreign Investment Act was against the spirit of ADS.
Meanwhile, Industry Secretary Shankar Koirala assured discussions will be carried out with stakeholders of all sectors before giving final shape to the draft bill. “The draft of Foreign Investment Act is in preliminary stage and we will discuss with all stakeholders before giving the final shape to the draft,” Koirala said, adding that MoI would discuss with farmers on foreign investment in agriculture production in the country.