Online petition drive in support of tenant farmers

  • agricultural recovery package
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 3, 2017-

An online petition campaign has been launched, urging the government to provide compensation to tenant farmers who suffered the loss of crop in August floods. 

According to government estimates, the flooding in southern plains had caused approximately Rs. 5.84 billion damage in the agricultural sector alone.

Besides, the floods had affected 140,646 hectares of land, damaging 37,757 hectares of standing crops. 

The Terai Human Right Defenders (THRD) Alliance, an organisation working in the area of human right protection and promoting social justice especially in the Tarai region, has started the campaign to garner support for distributing compensation to tenants farmers, who are likely to miss out on government’s post-recovery package.

The online petition, seeking at least 1,000 signatures, has so far gathered 500 signatures. 

Tenant-farming, a practice in which a farmer borrows farmland from landowners and pays either half of the crop production or cash for using the land, is common in different parts of the country. 

Nearly 32 percent of households are involved in some form of tenant farming, while 5 percent cultivate on rented farmland. 

On August 27, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) had announced a Rs1.25-billion agricultural recovery package, targeting the flood-affected farmers.

However, the aid is unlikely to reach doorsteps of the tenant farmers as they lack formal documents required for compensation.

The flood victims are required to show proof of land ownership or a written tenancy agreement in order to claim crop damage compensation under the government’s recovery package.

“While flood victims are required to prove their identity, the provision requiring formal documentation of tenancy will result in many tenant farmers being denied compensation as the majority of tenant farmers rent land according to informal [verbal] agreement,” read the petition. 

The petition called “Make tenant farmers eligible for the Nepal Government’s post-flood agricultural recovery” has suggested the government accept recommendation letters verifying their tenancy from local authorities to ease the process for the affected farmers.

The petition has urged the ministry to recognise tenant farmers, who lack written tenancy agreements, eligible for the recovery package by carrying out on-site inspections, provide recovery aid to the tenant as per the investment of time, money, labour and other materials, and encourage landowners to waive off rents on land that were affected by the flooding.

“Tenant farmers often invest in seeds, fertilizer and irrigation management, in addition to the labour of tilling, planting, weeding and harvesting the crop. They have incurred significant damages. Therefore, they are entitled to the recovery aid,” it says.

Published: 03-10-2017 08:06

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