World Bank official stresses change-making agriculture

KATHMANDU: A high official from the World Bank during his Nepal visit commented that agriculture should help farmers make differences in their day-to-day lives.

The WB Practice Manager-Agriculture Martien van Nieuwkoop on Sunday visited a pisciculture project in Kaski district and expressed his opinion that the government and donor agencies should invest in agriculture as it contributes to income generation of people and environmental conservation.

Nieuwkoop was visiting the Rural Fish Hatchery and Fish Productivity Promotion Sub-Project in Rupakot of Kaski district. The sub-project was run with partial grant assistance from the Project for Agricultural Commercialisation and Trade (PACT).

PACT is a Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) project funded by the World Bank.

"While I visit countries, I would like to see the projects and how they make differences in people's lives," he said, "I want to congratulate the cooperative and PACT for actually contributing to income generation activities and environmental conservation."

The Rupa Lake Renovation and Pisciculture Cooperative Limited has operated the sub-project.

"While you read project papers, you cannot exactly see how the project makes difference in people's lives," he justified his field visit.

The cooperative's chairman Kul Prasad Adhikari informed that the 756-member organisation had been working to conserve biodiversity of local Rupa Lake while contributing to facilitating daily life of its members with fishery activities.

The cooperative was established around 15 years ago with a mission to rid the lake of hyacinths.

"The cooperative has given permanent employment to 17 persons while around half dozen people work here as daily wage earners," founding chairman Lekhanath Dhakal informed.

He added that the cooperative sold 35 tonnes of fish last year. It has aimed to make it 40 tonnes within next two years.

In the Rs 9.2-million sub-project, PACT has contributed a grant of Rs 4.1 million.

High officials of the WB Nepal Office and PACT had accompanied Nieuwkoop during the visit.

Nieuwkoop had also done a bit of sightseeing around Rupa Lake and Begnas Lake on the sidelines of the monitoring visit.

The WB official is currently in Nepal during his South Asia visit and is scheduled to hold meetings with high government officials associated with WB-funded projects, according to the WB source.