Laxmi Capital News
Small farmers express displeasure with budget

Small farmers haveexpressed their disappointment toward the budget for Fiscal Year 2018/19.

Speakingat an interaction in Kathmandu on Tuesday, small farmers also raised questionover the policy and programs for the agriculture sector.

Thoughthe government has set a target of achieving double digit growth in farmproductivity, the said the government seemed to be focused on secondary thingsonly, and not focusing on increasing production of staple food crop.

Presentingoverview of farmers toward the budget, SomatGhimire of National Farmers GroupFederation (NFGF) said that the country was struggling to increase productionof paddy, oil, meat and other basic edible products. “However, the budget hasprioritized production of lime, betel nut, olive and other secondary agroproduces,” Ghimire said in his presentation. “The budget has also failed toaddress the issue of farmers' pension and classification clearly.” He alsorequested the government create environment conducive for small farmers to earntheir livelihood through farming.

Criticizingthe agricultural ministry, Ghimire said that nearly 92 percent of farmers arenot receiving grants provided in the name of agricultural sectors and farmers.“The government has been announcing grants for farmers and agricultural sectorwithout conducting any study. We, the farmers, request the government toconduct a study to ascertain whether real farmers are getting such grants andsubsidies,” he added. “Agricultural growth will not be possible if farmers'issues are not addressed.”

Ghimirealso said that the budget still seems to be prioritizing the central governmentrather the local units.

Similarly,Uddhab Adhikari, chairperson of NFGF, said that the budget was not in favor ofagricultural development. “The current budget cannot bring programs fordevelopment of small farmers,” Adhikari added.

Respondingto questions raised by farmers, Minister for Agricultural, Land andCooperatives, Chakra PaniKhanal, said that the 58-point action plan publishedby the ministry is not a complete document. “I agree with most of the thingsthat you have raised regarding the budget. But our commitment is to developagricultural sector,” he said, urging all stakeholders to make efforts forachieving the target of achieving double-digit agri growth. Khanal also saidthat the ministry will address demands of farmers gradually.

Hefurther expressed commitment to stop defragmentation of farm land forunproductive purpose. The minister also said that the ministry will implementintegrated market management in all seven provinces form the upcoming fiscalyear.

DilliRam Sharma, director general of Department of Agriculture, said that the targetof doubling agro production in the next five years was gettable. “Though thebudget for the FY 2018/19 failed to address all the issues of farmers, I wouldlike to ensure you that doubling agro production in five years is possible,”Sharma added.

Hefurther added that the government was currently working on introducing newtechnologies, providing interest grants for farmers, establishing knowledgecenters in every province, ensuring timely availability of seeds andfertilizers and other inputs for growth in agricultural productions. “The governmentalone cannot do anything. The government will provide all possible supports toencourage and support farmers,” he added

Farmerleaders from several districts, and representatives of the ministry anddifferent departments under the ministry participated in the interaction thatwas organized jointly by NFGF and Nepal Agriculture Journalists Academy(JONAA).

Source:MyRepublica, 13th June 2018

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