Agriculture Development Strategy : Plan eyes ambitious overall growth

KATHMANDU, JUL 01 -

A draft of the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS), which has envisioned an ambitious growth pattern in output, land and labour productivity, was presented to the Ministry of Agriculture Development on Monday. The strategic document, which incorporates a 20-year vision and a 10-year planning horizon for the country’s farm sector, which has been suffering from under-investment for decades, was prepared with technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The blueprint prepared by a team formulating the ADS over the past 26 months was handed over to Agriculture Minister Tek Bahadur Thapa Gharti by Takashi Matsuo, the director of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division of the South Asia Department of the ADB. The draft has been prepared under the four strategic pillars—governance, productivity, profitable commercialisation and competitiveness—and has envisaged agriculture-led growth as a key strategy. It has targeted to achieve a 5 percent average annual growth rate from the present 3 percent for the agricultural sector; and increase the share of the national budget allocated to the agricultural sector to reach an eventual target of 10 percent. The ADS team has revised its investment target in the farm sector. Earlier, it had envisaged a 10year agriculture spending of Rs 250 billion, or Rs 25 billion annually, including donor contributions. In the revised investment target, it has recommended a spending of Rs 502 billion in 10 years, or around Rs 50 billion annually. The draft aims to increase land productivity to $5,000 per hectare from the current $1,600. It also aims to increase labour productivity to $2,000 from $800 per worker. Likewise, exports of agriculture items have been targeted to increase to $1.6 billion from $250 million through the implementation of the ADS. The document has envisaged increasing round-the-year irrigation coverage areas to 80 percent from the current 18 percent. One of the ambitious targets is to halve poverty in less than 10 years through an agriculture-led economy. The new strategy aims to increase the contribution of agribusiness to the Gross Domestic Product to 20 percent from the current 10 percent by enhancing production and productivity of highvalue crops and improving access to markets. The document, if implemented properly, will help Nepal get rid of poverty and play a crucial role in economic transformation through agriculture-led growth, said Francesco Goletti, the leader of the ADS team. “The implementation of the document will need commitments from the government and political parties, among other stakeholders,” he said, adding that commitments for adequate resources allocation as envisaged by the draft would be crucial. Secretary general of the All Nepal Peasants’ Federation Prem Dangal said the document has incorporated many of their demands. “How it will implement the ADS is a challenge for the government now,” said Dangal, a farmers’ representative in the ADS steering committee. “As per the document’s recommendation, farmers’ rights will be ensured for the first time.”

Meanwhile. Preparation of the Agricultural Development Strategy for Nepal 2011-04-02 The Government of Nepal has decided to develop a long-term strategy for the agricultural sector. The project includes involvement of 13 development partners. particularly changes in the form of government. and the dual impacts of migrant labor and urbanization. participatory formulation of a long-term vision for the agriculture sector. USAID. We hope the ADS will address these issues as a whole. Several thematic groups are being organized around the key policy issues affecting the sector. FAO.” The government will review the ADS draft before sending it to the Cabinet. The ADS will supersede the APP. The formulation of the ADS will be based on in-depth assessment of the current situation. “As we have seen many reports being shelved. Accordingly.” he added. The ADS TA started in March 2011. Minister Gharti blamed low investment from the government as well as development partners for the under-performance of the Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP). climate change impacts becoming real and visible.” he said. This policy and advisory TA for the preparation of the ADS is supported by a number of donors including ADB. Other donors are also expressing interest in supporting the ADS. according to government officials. modernising the farm sector has been a challenge. IFAD. and WFP. we hope it will not be the case with the ADS. In view of changes that were not anticipated under the APP. DANIDA. As we are seeing increasing food imports and youth migration. the government will formally own the document. SDC. The Steering Committee is co-chaired by the Secretaries of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. 1995—2015 as Nepal’s official agriculture sector framework. Matsuo said formulating the ADS would be a milestone. the Government of Nepal has received Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance (TA) to prepare an agricultural development strategy (ADS) with a 20-year vision and a 10-year planning horizon. which is envisaged to be implemented by 2014-15. In 1995. a regional situation shaped by rapidly growing regional trade. “We are looking for the Cabinet’s approval for the government to own the document. EU. ADB TA assisted the government to prepare the Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP). JICA. the government considers revision of the APP and subsequent sector policies to be necessary. . “We should realise the fact and learn a lesson from it. After the Cabinet’s nod. Agrifood Consulting International (ACI) is providing Team Leadership for the ADS Team comprising over 30 consultants covering a broad range of expertise and specializations. the identification and analysis of alternative policy and investment options to achieve the vision. increasing food prices and food insecurity at the global and national levels. not a goal. and the preparation of implementable plans.