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Nepal proposes farm policy to bar foreign capital

Publication Date : 14-08-2014

 

The Ministry of Agricultural Development is all set to send a draft of the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) to the cabinet for its approval after putting the finishing touches to the plan which envisages barring foreign investment and land ownership in primary farm production and limiting cultivation of genetically modified organism (GMO) to research purposes.

The country’s second agricultural roadmap, which is expected to set out a strong and sustainable future path for the farm sector for the next 20 years, has envisioned forming a farmers’ commission to ensure their rights and prioritising production of local and hybrid seeds to make the country self-reliant in seeds.

Tek Prasad Luitel, co-spokesperson of the ministry, said that the ministry had given the final shape to the draft and would send it to the cabinet soon.

He added that the ministry had made a number of revisions to the draft submitted by the ADS formulating team to the government on July 1, 2013. The draft was almost 26 months in the making.

Barring foreign direct investment in primary farm production and several other clauses like forming a farmers’ commission were inserted in the draft at the recommendation of farmers, farmers’ groups and various other stakeholders.

Luitel said that foreign investment would be allowed in the agricultural processing and marketing industry and industry producing farm inputs like fertiliser.

The ministry had conducted several rounds of meetings with farmers and other stakeholders at the district level, and their inputs have been included in the draft.

The ADS, which will replace the existing Agricultural Perspective Plan 1995-2015 (APP), has been prepared with a 20-year vision and a 10-year planning horizon with the technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“If all things go as planned, the ADS will be implemented by the start of 2015.”

The ADS has been prepared under the four strategic pillars of governance, productivity, profitable commercialisation and competitiveness.

It has targeted boosting the average annual growth to 5 per cent from the present 3 per cent for the agricultural sector, and increase land productivity to $5,000 per hectare from the current $1,600.

It also aims to increase labour productivity to $2,000 from $800 per worker.

Likewise, exports of farm items have been targeted to increase to $1.6 billion from $250 million through the implementation of the ADS.

The document has envisaged increasing round-the-year irrigation coverage areas to 80 per cent from the current 18 per cent. One of its ambitious targets is to halve poverty in less than 10 years through an agriculture-led economy.

The government issued the APP in 1995 as a 20-year vision and strategy for agriculture-led growth and implemented it in 1997.

However, the plan failed to achieve the desired impact because of little investment support, lack of effective leadership and coordination and inconsistent policies related to subsidies.

 

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