Agro minister miffed over INGOs distributing seeds to farmers

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jun 24, 2015-

The government has expressed serious concern over the distribution of paddy seeds to the farmers from the earthquake-affected villages by some international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) without consulting with the government authorities.

During a meeting of the Agriculture and Water Resource Committee of the Legislature-Parliament held on Wednesday, Minister for Agricultural Development (MoAD) Hari Parajuli expressed reservation over Oxfam and Save the Children distributing seeds to the farmers without proper consultation and approval from the concerned ministry.

“The (two) organisations distributed the seeds taking advantage of the ongoing political turmoil in the country in the event of disaster. We will not take any responsibility should the farmers report any crop failure in the future,” he added.

The government has started to exercise caution in seed distribution after increasing reports of crop failure through the distribution of unauthorised seeds by various organisations without proper consultation or approval from the government.  

This trend which is fast catching up is posing a huge challenge for the authorities in recent times.

The major earthquake on April 25 and subsequent aftershocks that devastated the country adversely affected the country’s agriculture sector. The damage and destruction suffered by the farms and loss of food grains required for direct seeding this monsoon is expected to have a huge impact on the overall agriculture sector and its output in the country, especially in the 14 earthquake-affected districts.

According to a preliminary estimate released by MoAD, edible foods and livestock worth around Rs. 10 billion were lost across the country in the devastating earthquake. Around 135,000 metric tonnes of edible foods worth of Rs. 8.1 billion were destroyed by the earthquake. Likewise, the government has already announced to provide 423 metric tonnes of paddy seeds worth Rs 43.3 million for free to the farmers in 14 earthquake-hit districts-- Kavrepalanchok, Sindupalchok,Dolakha, Okhaldhunga, Rasuwa, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Dhading, Makwanpur and Gorkha.

According to Oxfam, stocks of seeds that are normally stored inside farmers’ homes were destroyed by the devastating earthquakes of April 25 and continued aftershocks. Some people have no stock of seed to plant for their next crop, so the organisation started providing seeds to farmers in Nuwakot, Sindupalchok and Dhading.

So far, Oxfam has distributed rice seeds to almost 16,000 Nepalis farmers in these three districts and they have not ceased its distribution.

“By providing seeds, Oxfam is helping families to get back on their own feet as soon as possible,” a statement released by Oxfam on June 17 stated. “We have distributed improved variety of seeds as recommended by the District Agriculture Development Office and,” said an official with Oxfam.

Published: 25-06-2015 08:28

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