POKHARA, Sept 1: Stakeholders have stressed the need to develop infrastructures and allocate sufficient budget for the development of agriculture sector in the country.
At an interaction organized on Saturday here, they also demanded that the government set out polices to ensure access of farmers to loans, insurance and subsidies on farm inputs.
The government has been allocating less than 3 percent of the total annual budget for agriculture, which has been contributing more than one-third of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking at the discussion jointly organized by National Farmers’ Network, Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) and Food Crisis Address Program, they also suggested that the government effectively implement the existing Land Use Policy to control the increasing use of fertile land for real estate purpose.
Ganesh Raj Joshi, secretary at MoAD, opined that infrastructures including irrigation and agriculture roads are crucial for the development of agriculture sector.
He said increasing number of Nepali overseas migrants, trend of leaving fallow land and rising dependence on agriculture imports to fulfill the domestic demands were the key challenges in the agriculture sector.
Bhanu Sigdel, Nepal Farmers’ Association expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of government action for land reform and development of irrigation to boost farm productivity.
“Though we have the potential to meet the demands of more than 90 million people, we are facing food shortage every year and failing to feed less than 30 million,” said Sigdel.
Yagya Bahadur Thapa, chairman of Nepali Congress Kaski chapter, said the trend of workers leaving for overseas jobs should be discouraged.
Bhakti Lamichhane, a leader affiliated to UCPN (Maoist), demanded that the government allocate sufficient budget for agriculture.
Khaga Raj Adhikari, politburo member of CPN (UML), urged the government to increase investment in agriculture and formulate policies to encourage the farm commercialization.