Amendment bill for providing compensation to farmers

Kathmandu, June 2

An amendment bill registered at the secretariat of Federal Parliament, to amend the Seeds Act-1988, stipulates a provision of compensation to farmers who suffer crop failure due to sub-standard seeds, fertilisers, techniques and processes recommended to them.

According to section 11 of the proposed bill, “If any farmer suffers a crop failure or poor harvest despite the use of seeds, fertilisers, techniques and process recommended by a government organisation, agency, company or a firm, reasonable amount of compensation shall be recovered from the concerned agency to the victim farmer.”

The compensation amount shall be as prescribed in the rules framed in accordance with the bill.

The bill also prohibits the sale or distribution of seeds which are not listed in notification published in the Nepal Gazette, except for the purpose of agriculture investigation. “Seed inspector may confiscate the seeds sold or distributed in contravention of this bill,” it read.

The bill also requires the concerned persons or organisations to conduct a risk analysis prior to importing or exporting any variety of seeds, or genetically modified organism or living modified organism or terminated seeds, that may cause adverse impacts on humans, animals, poultry, environment, culture and normal life.

“The government may, by a notification published in the Nepal Gazette, impose a ban on import or export of such seeds, which are not deemed appropriate on the basis of risk analysis,” section 15 said.

The government may also restrict the import or export of seeds of any specific variety, which cause damage or have adverse impacts in agricultural activities. “Any person or organisation wishing to produce source seeds shall have to obtain a licence from the National Seeds Board formed by the government. The board may issue a licence after conducting necessary inquiry into the application,” the bill read.

The government may designate a qualified officer-level employee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development as a seed inspector and seed analyst. It also articulates a provision of a Seed Testing Laboratory. Such laboratories may also be established by the provincial and local level governments, as per requirement.

“Any person or organisation that commits an offence refereed to in this bill shall be liable to an imprisonment, ranging from one month to three months, or a fine of up to Rs 1,00,000 or both,” it read.

According to the bill, a seed inspector or a seed analyst or any employee authorised to perform task under this bill, shall not be liable for actions carried out in good faith, in the course of discharging his/her duties.