HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government has started consultation for the planned Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS).
“The strategy study has identified potential for the country’s agriculture sector to achieve higher productivity, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and sustainability while making it more resilient to climate change impacts,” said ADB’s country director for Nepal Kenichi Yokoyama during a workshop to discuss vision and policy options for Agricultural Development Strategy organised by Ministry of Agriculture Development, with financial assistance from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and 11 development partners here today.
“The government recognises the importance of transforming agriculture,” he said, adding that the discussions during the workshop have brought the government, stakeholders including farmer organisations, and development partners closer to shaping a viable strategy for the sector.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for most of the Nepalis but traditional agriculture offers few opportunities for the rural youth, prompting more than 1,600 to leave the country every day in search of greener pastures in foreign job destinations.
has high potential for exporting high-value agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables, seeds, tea and coffee, medicinal plants and essential oils, and dairy products. It would increase opportunities for farmers and agribusinesses.
Strategy currently being developed by government aims to guide the process of agricultural transformation over the next 20 years by increasing labour and land productivity while promoting exports.
Started in April 2011, it has so far completed thorough sector assessments, and drafted a sector vision and policy options, which were discussed during the workshop. On the basis of these, a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan will be developed by March 2013.
Chaired by vice chair of National Planning Commission Deependra Bahadur Kshetry, the workshop saw the participation of the former prime minister of New Zealand James Bolger, finance secretary Krishna Hari Baskota and representatives from various organisations.
“Successful reforms require enthusiastic supporters and champions to drive the process forward,” Bolger said, hailing the enthusiasm and commitment at high political level across all political parties to carry the reform process forward. “Over the next months the strategy must develop a detailed strategic plan to translate political commitment into effective implementation.” “The plan must reflect the highly diverse opportunities and needs across Nepal from lowland Terai to the high Himalayas,” he added.
In 2011, ADB, in a co-financing partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, provided the initial grant to help the government prepare the strategy.
Preparation of the strategy has been financially assisted by 10 additional
development partners. Presently its implementation is driven by Ministry of Agriculture Development, and guided by a high powered steering committee co-chaired by Finance Ministry and Ministry of Agriculture Development.