AgriMin’s budget ceiling for next FY up 11.48pc

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The upper limit of the ministry’s finances has been fixed at Rs30.58 billion

Feb 3, 2017-The National Planning Commission (NPC) has raised the Agriculture Ministry’s budget ceiling by 11.48 percent for the next fiscal year to allow it to continue some of its focused programmes launched this year. 

The upper limit of the ministry’s finances has been fixed at Rs30.58 billion. The funds will be used to generate employment opportunities in the farm sector, according to ministry officials.

“The ministry has started discussions to formulate focused programmes,” said Shankar Sapkota, assistant spokesperson for the ministry. “We will be preparing a modality of the programme in the next two weeks after holding extensive discussions with stakeholders across the country.” 

He added that the government had implemented the 10-year, Rs130-billion Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project this fiscal year, which envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity and making the country self-reliant in food. 

“As we have launched the project this year, there are a number of plans that were not implemented due to time and resource constraints; and they will be carried over to the next fiscal year.” 

The ministry has allocated a budget of Rs5.78 billion for this fiscal year to adopt modern farming practices. 

As per the plan, the government will create 2,100 pocket areas of 10 hectares each, 150 blocks of 100 hectares each, 30 zones of 500 hectares each, and seven super zones of 1,000 hectares each. The plan expects to make the country self-reliant in farm products by promoting mechanization, technology and proper and efficient use of seeds and fertilizers to increase productivity.

Under the super zones, Jhapa will be promoted for paddy, Bara for fish, Kaski for vegetables, Kavrepalanchok for potato, Dang for maize, Jumla for apple and Kailali for wheat.

The government will implement the project under a private-cooperative-group partnership model. The government has aimed to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat and vegetables by this fiscal year, and in paddy and potato in two years. 

The government has targeted making the country self-sufficient in maize and fish by the next three years, and in fruits like bananas, papaya and litchi by four years. The project envisages making the country self-sufficient in fruits like kiwi, apple and orange by the time it concludes.  

According to Sapkota, many programmes envisaged by the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) were implemented this fiscal year, and they will be continued in the next fiscal year.  

The farm sector provides employment to 66 percent of the country’s total population and contributes about 33 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is under stress as a result of under-investment. 

Agro imports have ballooned to Rs150 billion to become the second largest import after fuel. Shipments are projected to rise in the coming years due to rapidly growing urbanization and departures of young Nepali migrant workers to foreign work destinations. 

Published: 03-02-2017 09:53

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