Land reforms can fuel economic growth

Kathmandu, November 25:

Experts here today stressed on land reforms for poverty reduction and increase in productivity.

Keshav Badal, a UML lawmaker, speaking at an interaction organised by Norway Development Fund (NDF) and NIDS, highlighted a need for economic growth for sustainable political change. “There is no alternative to land as it is related to production of food grains and livelihood,” he said adding that it should be tied with development of agriculture road (estimated at around 20,000-km) for market access, development of agriculture industry like sugar, coffee, tea and agriculture cooperatives.

Only 21 per cent of Nepal’s land is arable. “So, equal distribution of land will help increase production,” Badal said, adding that small farmers have recorded higher production than big land lords in South Asia.

Poverty remains highest, at 46 per cent, in the agriculture wage labourers group, who constitute about nine per cent of all rural households, Dr Jagannath Adhikari, while presenting a paper on ‘Globalisation, Land Ownership and Land Use: Implications for land Reform,’ said.

“On top of that global companies are exploiting land and water hurting small farmers,” he said, adding that conflict will increase due to globalisation and WTO because multinational companies are holding all the food chain hurting small far-mers. “On one hand remittance has pushed pri-ce of land in semi urban areas and on the other, migration has an adverse impact on productivity of the land,” he added.

Supporting him Dr Bishnu Raj Upreti, conflict expert, said that land is the cause of almost all conflict in the world. “Land reform is related to economic reform and social reform as well,” he said, adding that integrated land information system is needed to distinguish between arable and non-arable land, find out whether there is access to market or not for the agro-produce and overall economic growth.

Similarly, Jagat Basnet of Samudayik Atmanirvar Kendra, said that there is a relation betw-een land reform and gro-wth of agriculture production. “Land reform is often understood as an issue related to land-less only, but its necessary for the industrial, agricultural and economic growth,” he said. “Only integrated model of land reforms can propel growth and rural industry can boom,” he added.