MoALD to provide compensation to victim farmers

Kathmandu, November 1

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) is preparing to provide compensation to farmers who had received ‘fake hybrid seeds’ of Garima paddy.

Responding to the lawmakers today at the meeting of Agriculture, Cooperative and Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament, MoALD State Minister Ram Kumari Chaudhary said that the ministry is preparing to provide compensation to the farmers who had planted hybrid seeds of Garima paddy that resulted in low production this year.

“Our investigation committee is studying the problems behind low production of Garima paddy. The preliminary report has revealed

that the seed distributor company had distributed fake hybrid seeds,” she said.

According to Chaudhary, the ministry will initiate the compensation distribution process once the investigation committee submits its final report. She further said that the ministry will provide the compensation based on the investment of the farmers.

“It will probably take around a month to conclude the investigation,” she added, vowing that the distributor will not be spared if the results reveal its wrongdoing.

On April 24, the ministry had granted the import contract to Sunrise Agriculture Research Centre Pvt Ltd (SARC) located at Dang district to import hybrid seeds of Garima paddy from Renova Seed Science India Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad. The company had then imported the seeds and distributed it to the farmers. However, as the yields from the paddy turned out to be extremely low, the ministry formed an investigation committee on August 23 to probe the issue.

Moreover, while the government had permitted SARC to import 40 tonnes of hybrid seeds of Garima paddy, the company imported only 34 tonnes and then distributed only 23 tonnes to the farmers.

As per the preliminary report, the paddy was planted in around 1,500 hectares of land in Chitwan, Rautahat, Nawalparasi, Nuwakot, Lamjung, Gorkha and Tanahu districts. Compared to other districts, paddy production in Chitwan has been affected most.

Despite the low production due to the Garima hybrid seed, paddy production in the country hit an all-time high of 5.6 million tonnes in this fiscal, up 9.8 per cent compared to the last fiscal year. This was because the delayed monsoon resulted in delay in paddy plantation in Tarai — considered the rice bowl of the country — which helped mitigate the loss due to floods in the plains.

In the previous fiscal year, paddy production had stood at 5.1 million tonnes.