The government of Japan is implementing a poverty reduction programme in a bid to help raise the income of freed Kamaiyas and farmers living in utter poverty in the mid and far-western development regions.

It is learnt that the Japanese government is going to implement a three-year programme in Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts under its poverty alleviation fund.

The money for the programme has been provided in the form of a loan through the Asian Development Bank and the programme itself is complementary to the crop diversification project being run with Asian Development Bank (ADB) credit, according to project chief Krishna Jung Sharma.

Project monitoring officer Rabindra Pradhan says that an amount of approximately Rs 63.2 million (nearly $800,000) has been allocated for the three-year programme which is to be implemented by local NGOs.

A day-long introductory seminar was organised at the regional agriculture training centre, Khajura in Banke on Sunday for discussions in connection with formulating an action plan for the district level modus operandi of the programme.

Speaking at the seminar, chairman of Banke District Development Committee (DDC) Om Prakash Jung Rana expressed the view that it was high time the government and non-governmental organisations worked together to impart skills to the erstwhile Kamaiyas and marginal farmers in order to help them set up small enterprises on their own.

Chief District Officer Dhruba Raj Wagle warned against duplication of welfare programmes meant for the erstwhile Kamaiyas.

Regional Agriculture Director Diwakar Poudel, local Rajhena Village Development Committee chairman Basudev Sharma Lamsal, District Agricultural Development Officer Ramesh Lal Karna, Jyoti Lohani of the Crop Diversification Project and others also expressed their views at the programme.

Representatives of the local NGOs, Agricultural Development Officers and representatives of government offices and organisations directly concerned with the freed Kamaiya rehabilitation programme attended the seminar.