Despite being an agricultural nation, Nepal imports food items worth billions of rupees every year. Farming practices in the country are still traditional and newer technologies are yet to be adopted. Moreover, people still follow subsistence type of farming rather than commercial farming. As a result, the production base of agriculture goods is still low in Nepal.
Similarly, other issues, including lack of timely availability of fertilisers and seeds, are affecting the overall agriculture output every year. Against this backdrop, Sujan Dhungana of The Himalayan Times talked to Yubak Dhoj GC, secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.
On the Nepalese government often being criticised for ineffective implementation of some mega projects -including the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project (PMAMP)- he said: “ PMAMP has a number of zones, superzones, pockets and blocks to promote farming and production of different crops. Some of the identified zones and superzones have been performing well, while it is also true that some of them are not performing as expected.”
“The government will gradually remove pockets and zones that are not doing well. For example, there is a superzone of maize in Dang which is doing really well. The traditional way of tilling land using plough has been substituted completely in the zone. Farmers are using different technologies to plough and harvest crops. Still, I have urged some changes in the original document of the PMAMP and presented it to the agriculture minister. Meanwhile, we are also planning to increase the number of agriculture zones and superzones.”
Yubak Dhoj also spoke on the government recently inking an agreement with China to export citrus fruits, saying: “The fact that we inked an agreement with China to export citrus fruits to the northern neighbour does not mean that we will immediately start exporting the fruits. The pact intends to open the door for export of these fruits to China in the future. Once we are able to raise production of these fruits and address other sanitary and phytosanitary measures, we will certainly start exporting citrus fruits to China.”