MoAD to launch four flagship programmes

Kathmandu, May 19

As the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) is going to implement the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) — a 20-year vision document with the first 10-year action plan — from next fiscal, the ministry will conduct four flagship programmes from fiscal 2016-17. Envisioned by the ADS, the four programmes include value chain development of agriculture products, food and nutrition security, agriculture service extension and agriculture research and technology.

The ministry has also tried to harmonise its regular programmes with ADS. In this regard, the ministry is going to expand mission programmes of crops — paddy, vegetables, maize, lentils and fish. Through these programmes, the government aims to make the country self-reliant on the said products within two to three years, according to Yogendra Kumar Karkee, spokesperson for MoAD.

Similarly, value addition of agricultural products like tea, cardamom, coffee and ginger, among others, for export has been prioritised. For the market promotion of agricultural products, the ministry has proposed seven mega agriculture marts in the seven provinces.

“The markets can be developed through public-private partnership, on a cooperative model or through the sole initiative of the private sector. The ministry has proposed to bear the interest rate of the loan that the agriculture mart developer may obtain from financial institutions for five years,” as per Karkee.

The mega marts at the regional level will ensure the market for the agricultural products and farmers will get better returns on their produce. Apart from the agriculture marts, the government will also promote private sector and cooperatives to develop warehouse facility for the agriculture products with cold storage facilities under the same modality of agriculture marts.

Besides, the ministry will recruit 1,000 agriculture technicians in the next fiscal for the extension of agriculture service as envisaged by ADS. This year, the MoAD recruited 500 agriculture technicians and they were appointed in various village development committees (VDCs). As the Ministry of Livestock Development is also going to hire an equal number of livestock technicians, the livestock and agriculture technicians will be posted in each alternate VDC, so that farmers can benefit from proper agriculture and livestock services in their own locality.

Likewise, the MoAD is planning to launch various programmes to boost productivity, for poverty alleviation and also inclusive development. Incentives will be available for those who farm on barren lands and for conflict victim farmers and marginalised people too.

The ministry has said that it will increase the import of chemical fertilisers from 270,000 tonnes this fiscal to 310,000 tonnes in the next fiscal. The actual demand of chemical fertilisers hovers at around 400,000 tonnes. Due to the huge subsidy that the government provides, it has not been importing the required quantity of chemical fertilisers.

The government has been extending subsidy of 59.18 per cent on urea, 30.29 per cent on DAP and 45.13 per cent on potash to the farmers.

Similarly, the MoAD has proposed to extend grant of Rs 10 per kg on organic fertilisers to encourage farmers to use organic fertiliser.

ADS aims to mobilise Rs 50 billion in agriculture sector every year as well as expand irrigation facility to up to 80 per cent of arable land, expand access of farmers in agriculture programmes, increase agriculture gross domestic product growth to more than six per cent, and increase the annual export of agricultural products to $690 million, among others, by the end of the ADS programme.