Preliminary discussion on the draft of agriculture act 2080

Preliminary discussion on the draft of agriculture act 2080

  • July 30, 2023

On July 30, 2023, ForestAction Nepal, the secretariat of the Alliance of Agriculture for Food (AAF), organized a preliminary discussion program on the need for an integrated agriculture act at SAP-Falcha, Kathmandu. The event was attended by distinguished guests, including Dr. Bedu Ram Bhusal, Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MOALD), as well as the Secretary and joint secretaries from MOALD. There were also honorable members from the Agriculture, Cooperative, and Natural Resources Committee (under the House of Representatives), the National Planning Commission, the National Farmers Commission, and various other stakeholders, such as agriculture experts, farmers, media persons, activists, representatives of CSOs, and AAF members.

The event was conducted in two sessions. During the first session, two presentations were made, one by the Ministry and the other by AAF. The second session was dedicated to discussions on the topic at hand.

During the event, Dr. Rajendra Mishra, the joint secretary from MOALD, shared the first draft of the Agriculture bill that was prepared by the Ministry. In his presentation, he emphasized that the proposed act aims to promote the protection of farmers, the farming occupation, agri-business, water conservation, indigenous products/commodities, and agrobiodiversity.

Additionally, Dr. Rajendra Mishra further highlighted that the proposed act also encompasses the management of a gene bank and ensures the rights of farmers and farming communities.

At the event, Dr. Krishna Prasad Paudel, an AAF activist, presented a review of the first draft of the Agriculture bill. Dr. Paudel criticized the draft prepared by the Ministry, stating that it appeared to be more focused on the agricultural business promotion act rather than on an integrated agriculture act. He emphasized the need for all dimensions of agriculture to be taken into consideration while preparing the act. He expressed his concern that the proposed act failed to prioritize the smallholder farmers. He also stressed the importance of extensive discussions with stakeholders during the drafting process of the act.

Following the presentations, the floor was opened for the discussions. During the open discussion session, various viewpoints were expressed by the guests and participants. Here is a summary of the key viewpoints:

– In order to make the act more comprehensive and effective, there is still a need for significant discussions.

– There is an urgent need for the act to be implemented as soon as possible in order to address the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector effectively.

– There has been a lack of attention given to conservation in regards to the farmers group, women group, and forest group.

– Before the formulation of Agriculture act, there is a need to discuss effectively on issues of arable land.

– The purpose of the Agriculture Act should be to localize and empower farmers by prioritizing institutional and bureaucratic restructuring.

– Research institutes and university should actively engage in research initiatives, create knowledge, and provide evidence-based recommendations to foster progress in agriculture. Furthermore, these institutions should work collaboratively and take ownership of implementing policies, programs, and interventions aimed at addressing the challenges faced by farmers and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

– The Agriculture Act should comprehensively address the important aspects of education, research, and dissemination within the agricultural sector.

– There is a need for coordination between the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Irrigation, and the Ministry of Forestry and prepare the integrated act.