Kathmandu, May 19
The government recently announced its policies and programmes for next fiscal year 2020-21, in which agriculture was the most prioritised sector.
While announcing the policies and programmes, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had said that the government will promote agriculture sector to generate employment in the country.
Taking the president’s word into consideration, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) is preparing budget plans for next fiscal with a strategy to invest in the promotion of agriculture businesses that ensure profit.
“The ministry has prepared several programmes with an aim to attract youths towards agricultural businesses with a guarantee of their investment and profit,” informed Hari Bahadur KC, spokesperson for MoALD. “After evaluating the production cost of farmers, the government will set a minimum support price for all the major crops that will ensure profit for farmers.”
The farmers will be allowed to sell their products in the market at a price that is reasonably higher than the price decided by the government. If due to any situation the farmers have to sell their products at a price that is lower than the government’s minimum price, then the government itself will buy their products.
The ministry expects this programme to encourage existing commercial farmers and also attract more youths to invest in the agricultural sector.
Likewise, another major focus of MoALD in the next budget will be to utilise land that is fertile but has not been used for any purpose. The ministry has prepared several programmes like the land bank, group farming and others to utilise fertile lands across the country. The programme will also be focusing on utilising private and public lands for farming.
Meanwhile, the ministry is also preparing to allocate enough budget to increase the production of major crops like paddy, maize and wheat as well as fruits and vegetables. As per the policies and programmes, the ministry is preparing to provide grants on seeds, fertilisers, irrigation and electricity facility and other inputs and equipment required for farming. Meanwhile, the ministry will also ensure timely availability of the aforementioned prerequisites.
Similarly, the ministry is also preparing to establish and manage cold stores and dry stores for storage of agricultural products. To avoid shortage of food and ensure market for food items, the ministry has prepared a framework of establishing and managing cold stores for vegetables and fruits and dry stores for paddy, wheat, maize, oil and pulses. The project will be announced in the upcoming budget.
For the livestock sector, the ministry is working on arranging medical and insurance services at the government level for the farmers. Through the upcoming budget, the ministry will guarantee access to agriculture and livestock insurance policies for farmers.
The government has set a budget ceiling of Rs 33.18 billion for MoALD for the next fiscal year. As per Spokesperson KC, the budget will be more focused on crop production and employment generation.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 20, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.