Govt shortlists 15 products to expedite farm commercialization
Products selected on the basis of their potential to contribute to poverty reduction
KATHMANDU, Jan 7: The government has laid emphasis on the development of an effective value chain system - value addition between production and distribution process - to promote 15 agricultural products, which hold the potential to contribute to poverty alleviation.
The proposed Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS), which is being drafted by the government with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has indentified these products as highly potential to aid commercialization of the farming sector.
The farm products prioritized for commercialization through enhancement of their market chain are paddy, maize, wheat, dairy products, vegetables, tea, lentil, goats, poultry, potatoes, ginger, large cardamom, oilseeds, coffee and fishes.
“We selected these products keeping in view the contribution they are likely to make in poverty reduction and the future growth potential they hold,” Surya Prasad Poudel, a member of ADS drafting team, told the press on Sunday.
The proposed ADS, which has indentified good governance, productivity, commercialization and competitiveness as four strategic pillars for agriculture development, has given highest priority to maize production, while fishery lies in the bottom of the list.
In a bid to ensure greater contribution of agriculture to economic development, the drafting team has also recommended allocation of at least 10 percent of the national budget to agriculture, development of roads to link farm pocket areas, operation of agriculture roads round the year, promoting investment in agriculture sector and raising subsidy for agriculture inputs.
“To develop value chain system for priority products, we have proposed development and management of market infrastructure, promotion of locally produced organic products and establishment of collection and sales centers for agro-products to ensure they find the market,” said Poudel, providing the latest update on the draft ADS.
Though the draft has laid focus on farm commercialization with increased investment, it has recommended restricting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the farming sector and discouraging genetically modified organism in farm products.
The draft of 20-year ADS has also set a vision to increase the annual farm productivity to US$5,000 per hectare from existing $1,600 and per capita productivity of farm worker to $2,000 from existing $800.
“By increasing the productivity of the farm sector, we are hoping to raise the annual growth rate of farm sector to 5 percent from existing 3 percent. This is expected to raise agriculture´s contribution to the GDP to 20 percent from existing 10 percent,” Poudel said.
Acknowledging farmers as the key agent for farm commercialization, the draft has also proposed formation of the farmers´ commission, farmers´ court, representation of farmers in formulation of agriculture related policies and assurance on farmers´ rights to natural resources.
The drafting team is set to finalize the ADS draft on March 13 after incorporating provisions on food and nutrition and suggestions of stakeholders.