Report on organic farming promotion gathering dust

Kathmandu, July 16

The final report of the organic farming promotional programme has been stuck at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) for over a month.

The 15-member taskforce formed by the ministry to prepare a programme draft for organic farming promotion submitted the report to Agriculture Minister Chakrapani Khanal on June 7.

However, the report has not been submitted to the prime minister yet.

“It has been over a month since the taskforce submitted the final report to Minister Khanal and we have learnt that it has not yet been forwarded to the prime minister,” said Uddhav Adhikari, a member of the taskforce. He further said that the taskforce has also not been called by the ministry for any kind of discussion after they submitted the report.

Aiming to turn the country’s farming into organic farming completely, the ministry had introduced this project.

However, the ministry has been delaying in implementing the project. “The report was supposed to be endorsed by the prime minister for its effective implementation,” Adhikari added.

Immediately after the taskforce submitted the report to Minister Khanal, PM KP Sharma Oli left on a foreign visit. And when PM Oli returned from his trip, Minister Khanal left for a foreign trip to China. Thus, the minister did not get time to submit the report to the PM, as stated by the ministry.

Later, Khanal informally handed over the report to members of the taskforce — Ganga Acharya, Krishna Prasad Poudel and Bimala Rai — for proof-reading. However they have not handed back the report yet to the minister, as per the secretariat of Minister Khanal.

Meanwhile, taskforce member Poudel who had also coordinated in preparing the report, said that the final copy of the report is at the ministry.

After submitting the report Poudel had informally told Minister Khanal to thoroughly proof-read the report, Poudel said.

“I requested the minister to recheck the language once and as far as I know some staffers of the ministry were assigned to do the task,” Poudel said, “I later learnt that the minister has not been getting time from the PM’s office due to several reasons.” Moreover, the recent pesticide issue and then the situation with the floods have not allowed for a meeting for the report submission, he added.

The report has suggested several recommendations, including forming a separate Organic Development Board, conducting skills training for farmers to use organic technologies, awareness programmes, and knowledge-based workshops for farmers. Likewise, the report has also recommended deploying researchers and technicians in the field.

The ministry had allocated a total of Rs 520 million for the organic farming promotional programme in fiscal year 2018-19. The budget has been distributed to Provinces 1, 3, Karnali and Gandaki for the implementation of the project.