SC tells govt not to allow FDI in agro sector
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 20
The Supreme Court has issued an interim order late Tuesday directing the government not to implement the decision to allow foreign investment in the country’s agricultural sector.
The interim order was issued by a single bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Sharma.
The government had published a notice in the Nepal Gazette on January 4, paving the way for foreign investors to invest in large agricultural industries with a mandatory provision of exporting at least 75 per cent of the production.
Stating that the provision will put the investment of Nepali farmers at risk, advocates Punya Prasad Khatiwada and Deepak Bikram Mishra had jointly filed a writ petition at the apex court.
The government’s decision had opened foreign investment in livestock farming, fish farming, bee-keeping, fruits, vegetables, oilseeds and pulses farming as well as in dairy and other agriculture-related businesses.
According to official statistics, there is a total domestic investment of Rs 85 billion in agricultural sector, including Rs 30 billion in dairy industry, Rs four billion in bee-keeping, Rs 11 billion in fish farming and Rs 40 billion in poultry farming.
It was stated in the writ petition that Nepali agricultural industries would collapse as Nepali farmers would not be able to compete if foreign investment is allowed in the sector.
The petitioners had also said that allowing FDI in the agricultural sector would adversely affect the Nepali economy as the foreign investors would operate their own industries in the country and repatriate the dividends to their home country.
In the writ petition, it had been stated that the current government, which is already facing acute crisis, has tried to implement such a provision by misleading the Nepali people.
Issuing the interim order, the Supreme Court has also directed the concerned government bodies to submit the reasons for allowing foreign investment in the agricultural sector.
The order states that such reasons should be submitted within 15 days.