Kathmandu, May 14
Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the government’s plans and policies for the agricultural sector have been limited to paper and should be materialised.
Inaugurating the International Organic Experts’ Meet here today, Dahal said that policies have yet to be translated into action, especially in the country’s agricultural sector. “This has impeded the development of the sector.”
Citing examples of rampant use of chemical fertilisers and use of traditional methods of farming even in this day and age, Dahal said, “While there have been discussions since many years about organic farming and modernising agricultural sector, we are still taking baby steps towards that goal.”
He also lamented the fact that despite the sector receiving quite a large chunk of investment the output has not been as expected.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, foreign aid contributes around one-third of the investment in the agriculture sector.
“Yet, our import of agricultural products is increasing every year,” said Dahal, further urging all concerned stakeholders to walk the talk in terms of boosting production to minimise the ballooning trade deficit of the country.
Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Chakrapani Khanal, said that the government is doing its best to discourage farmers from using chemical fertilisers.
Informing that the yearly demand for chemical fertilisers in the country stands at 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes, he added that the government aims to gradually replace the use of chemical fertilisers with organic fertilisers.
“It takes time to change one’s habit, so we urge everyone to be patient as we take on this tremendous task,” he added.
Minister Khanal further reminded the audience that the country is gradually moving towards organic farming. “Karnali province has been declared an organic province, which means chemical fertilisers are banned there,” he added.
The two-day-long conference has been organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development aiming to promote organic farming and replace the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
Organic experts from India, Bhutan, Cuba and Spain are participating in the conference along with 150 other national and international participants. At the end of the conference, the experts are scheduled to suggest possibilities and challenges for organic farming in Nepal based on the
A task force formed for promotion of organic agriculture in January by the MoALD will submit the recommendations and conclusions to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The election manifesto of the ruling party had promised to make Nepal a chemical fertiliser-free country over the next 10 years.
A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.