Farmers receive Rs 1b as compensation for losses

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Farmers receive Rs 1b as compensation for losses

Dec 10, 2014-

The government paid out nearly Rs 1 billion in compensation this fiscal year for losses due to bird flu outbreaks and unfavourable climatic behaviour that damaged crops and livestock across the country.

Avian flu outbreaks affected farmers in more than 12 districts during the period mid-July to mid-September. The government has released around Rs 376.6 million to compensate poultry farmers hit by bird flu.

Officials said that the largest ever outbreak of avian flu forced the government to destroy 1.75 million chickens, 3.05 million eggs, 172,181 kg of feed and 155,550 kg of meat as part of the measures to prevent the virus from spreading. Following the incident, the government declared a bird flu emergency in the severely affected areas of the Kathmandu valley and banned sales of poultry products. The prohibition was lifted on December 18, 2013.

Initially, the Finance Ministry had released Rs 221.5 million to compensate poultry farmers. The cash relief was issued based on the recommendation of providing Rs 100 per chicken. However, after farmers demanded full compensation, the Ministry of Agricultural Development asked for another Rs 155.1 million.

“The additional compensation has been released by the Finance Ministry, and we are presently discussing the distribution modality,” said Shankar Sapkota, co-spokesperson of the ministry. “As poultry farmers have demanded full compensation for their losses, the government decided to pay an additional 70 percent or Rs 170 per chicken.”

The relief scheme aims to encourage poultry farmers to continue their occupation since the bird flu outbreak has come as a massive setback for the poultry sector which has largely been self-reliant, he said.

Similarly, the Agriculture Ministry has requested the Finance Ministry for Rs 480 million to compensate farmers hit by floods and landslides in different part of the country in August. Natural disasters this year destroyed crops, mainly standing paddy, on 35,000 hectares in 17 districts causing an estimated loss of Rs 1.91 billion.

Another Rs 20 million has been sought to recompense farmers in Mugu district whose crops were ruined by heavy snowfall.

Officials said that the Finance Ministry was positive about allocating Rs 290 million to compensate farmers hit by bad weather, but no money will be given to them directly. According to Sapkota, the ministry will prepare a relief package in the form of inputs like crop seeds and fertilizer kits and training for farmers during the next farm season.

Last year, the government introduced crop and livestock insurance as compensation for farmers continued to be a major annual concern. It also set aside Rs 130 million to provide a 50 percent subsidy on insurance premiums, but the scheme failed to attract the targeted groups.

Published: 11-12-2014 09:53

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