Article in The Himalayan Times from Gopal Prasad Tiwari, Honorary Research Fellow at Fil. Dr. Jan-U. Sandal Institute and Social Entrepreneur IBS.
Gopal Prasad Tiwari has pulished an article in The Himalayan ePaper
Nepal’s agriculture sector is in a severe stage of traditional makeup for years which, if unremitting, will take the economy into a tailspin. It is unlikely to bolster the target of achieving the proposed growth rate of 4.7 per cent growth rate in the 14 th National Development Plan endorsed by the National Development Council chaired by the Prime Minister recently.
The agriculture growth rate was reduced to 1.9 per cent in 2014/ 15 compared to 5.8 per cent back in 2007/ 08, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Development. With this shaky situation sprouting, reducing poverty and becoming self reliant in food production in today’s complex political settings is a day- dream. This is exclusively attributed to the lack of innovation and social entrepreneurship for which the government must work honestly by understanding the reality of small and medium farmers who are greatly engaged in production process.
Social enterprises The concept of social enterprises is yet to take route in the Nepali agricultural sector.
The expertise seems to be missing although lawmakers talk about commercialising the sector along with uplifting small- farmers for producing quality food grains and securing better prices and food security.
The governance of different times seems to have undermined the potential of the agriculture sector.
Nepali farmers face a lot of problems starting from retaining better- seeds to selling their products in the final market at reasonable prices.
This highlights the lack of value chain for innovation and the required scientific skills.
Farmers don’t know what the final prices of their products will be once the food grains are handed out to the dealers/ middlemen from the production place. There is no partnership approach from the state or the traders with farmers to create a stable market model.
Chanting slogans of 32 per cent contribution from agriculture to GDP ( as per the Agriculture Perspective Plan of 1995- 2015) sounds like political propaganda. The key is to enhance productivity growth with crop diversification through the commercialisation of high value agricultural commodities.
The limited growth of agriculture sector to less than two per cent in the fiscal year 2014/ 2015 against the previous year’s 2.5 per cent growth rate is really upsetting. This situation can be greatly attributed to fragmented land along with very little land holdings by small scale farmers, unavailability of modern seeds, low supply of fertilisers, and lack of finance and information.
Challenges and opportunities If we could interweave a The author is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Fil Dr Jan- U Sandal Institute Norway and Secretary General of the Nepal Economic Association ( NEA). He can be reached at kajutiwari@ gmail. com economic evaluation httpwww. fao. org Absence of innovation and social entrepreneurship impinges on agriculture sector There is no partnership approach from the state or traders with farmers to create a stable market model nexus between challenges and powerful opportunities in the agriculture sector, it will help us resolve multiple concerns through the process of entrepreneurship which entirely depends on five areas as propounded by Joseph A Schumpeter back in 1912. These are introduction of new good, new methods of production, opening a new market, conquest of new source of supply of raw materials and carrying out new organisations of any industry.
Therefore, changing the way the production was in the past in Nepal’s agriculture sector is urgently needed. People at the helm of affairs, surprisingly, are mum and pretend to be deaf and blind when it comes to exploring innovative minds.
Every farmer is a social entrepreneur and if one farmer is moving with the business philosophy of partnership in communities, it will lead towards sustainable agriculture growth and food security. It helps the farmers to push from farming to grocery, and then fine dining in a globalised market that we currently dream of.
Investment in agriculture from the public and private sector is reportedly seen on a roller- coaster trend in the last 15 years. Projecting growth rate by weather forecast by policy makers is a common phenomenon.
The irrigation system too still seems to be functioning in a conservative way. Furthermore, lack of developed seeds, weak research, high interest rates imposed on farmers by the financial lenders resulting high transaction cost, among others are hindering factors for productivity. It is unjust, at times, to hear from the government that the agriculture sector has been beset with low level of investment, weak capital formation, weak technology adoption and governance system as the system itself is a de- motivating factor.
Making the production channel robust is a key ingredient with inflated investment; diversification of products based on research and development, production of quality goods with sufficient scientific backstopping and infrastructure development with a view to build up the value chain process for sustainability. This fact should not be undermined by the authorities in the government.