Finance Minister urges farmers for collective farming for competitiveness
KATHMANDU: Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada has urged small farmers to become organized for pursuing collective farming.
Stating that the government’s strategy was to reduce the population involved in agriculture sector and boost the production and productivity of farmers, Finance Minister Khatiwada said that collective farming would help government in providing irrigation, agro inputs, insurance, mechanization and technological services to farmers effectively.
He opined that farmers can get organized through cooperatives that can work on agricultural value chain.
Speaking at the two-day ‘Small Farmer Summit’ that concluded on Friday, Finance Minister Khatiwada said that the agro production become competitive only the cost of production falls.
“Reducing the cost of production is important. For that to happen, the issue of breed that farmers use is important. The technology also plays a vital role. There is also the role of cooperative sector. We must go for mechanization of farming,” said Finance Minister Khatiwada. “These are something that small farmers cannot do alone. They should do it in group. There are also issues of misuse of subsidies provided by the government. We should do it through cooperatives. They can help in technology transfer, processing and finding market for farmers,” he added.
He also defended the government’s efforts to extend protection and hand out subsidies to farmers.
Finance Minister Khatiwada also said that local units in the new federal set up should give priority to agriculture sector.
“It seems that local governments are giving priority of digging roads. If they do not make investment in increasing production, locals would not be able to utilize the benefit of roads later,” said Minister Khatiwada, adding that services and facilities for farmers are getting channelized through local governments in the federal system.
The summit, which has brought over a total of 1,200 participants including 1,000 small farmers from across the country, concluded on Friday with 14-point declaration. The summit was held with a slogan of ‘Prosperity of Small Farmers: Transforming Agriculture and Developing Entrepreneurship’.
During the two-day summit, 28 working papers were presented in 14 various sessions covering wide range of issues ranging from poverty alleviation, elimination of hunger, employment generation, environment conservation and sustainable development goals.
Also speaking at the session, Benny Omer, Israel’s Ambassador to Nepal, said that his country was always ready to help in the agricultural development of Nepal. Israel has been providing training opportunity to Nepali youth in Israel to learn modern farming skills and innovative technologies in agriculture sector. According to Ambassador Omer, a total of 2,670 Nepali youths have participated in such training in Israel in last five years.
Shree Krishna Upadhyay, chairperson of the organizing committee of the summit, said that the summit has provided a platform for small farmers to share their experiences and challenges to prod the government in framing and drafting policies and programs accordingly.
14-POINT DECLARATION ISSUED
Meanwhile, the network of small farmers has issued a 14-point declaration at the end of the summit. Among others, the declaration vows to promote agricultural value chain in partnership with other stakeholders to achieve sustainable development goals and create opportunity for social and economic prosperity of small farmers. Similarly, the network of small farmers has also pledged to contribute in prosperous society by increasing participation of youth and women in the management and operation of small farmers’ organization.