Govt decides to appoint 1,000 agri technicians

Kathmandu, April 8

The government today decided to hire 500 agricultural technicians and another 500 livestock technicians on contract basis to ensure farmers at the local level can avail better services and boost their yields.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet meeting held this afternoon.

Earlier, the government, through the budget, had announced to appoint at least one agricultural or livestock technician in each of the 3,276 village development committees (VDCs) of the country. The government had even allocated budget for this purpose.

Based on this announcement, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) had previously requested the concerned authority to initiate process of hiring 1,500 agricultural technicians and another 1,500 livestock technicians and recruit them alternatively in nearby VDCs.

“We haven’t formally received the Cabinet decision yet. But if decision for hiring of only 1,000 technicians has been made, then it does not meet our expectation,” a senior MoAD official said on condition of anonymity.

The government’s Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) 2015-2035, a 20-year blueprint for the development of the agriculture sector, envisages formation of Community Agricultural Extension Service Centre (CAESC) in each VDC, where three technicians to look into agriculture, livestock and agriculture information and communication areas have to be recruited.

As per the ADS, the CAESC will be formed by local communities and will be governed by a board including representatives of local communities, cooperatives, farmer organisations, and agro-enterprises.

Currently, services related to agriculture and livestock are provided to farmers through Agricultural Service Centres (ASCs) and Livestock Service Centres (LSCs), which are run by the government. This network, however, does not cater to the needs of all the farmers, as only 378 ASCs and 999 LSCs have been established throughout the country.

“The limited number of service centres is aggravated by the limited resources available to carry out programmes and capacity building activities. As a result, most of the VDCs and farmers have been denied access to the national extension system,” says the ADS. “Furthermore, even in places where farmers have access to the service centres, there is no guarantee that the local needs are adequately met. The agro-ecological and socioeconomic diversity of Nepal is extraordinary and represents a challenge for any specific type of extension service provider to respond effectively to the needs of different types of farmers.”

This is the reason why the ADS had proposed establishment of CAESC, which is fully owned and managed by communities of each VDC or municipality and funded by VDC or municipality, cooperatives, the private sector, and the government.