Ministry of Agricultural Development is going to issue Identity Cards (ID) to farmers to facilitate them for easy access to agricultural services under its 100 day programme.

The 100-day programme consists of 13 different projects, which the ministry plans to implement within this fiscal-end.

The project – that will be implemented as a pilot project in five districts one each in the five development regions – aims at connecting small and marginalised farmers and services offered by the government.

Agriculture secretary Jaya Mukunda Khanal said here today that the common policy and programmes that the guidelines for the farmers’ ID card would be prepared by May 14 and that by July 15, it would be distributed.

Since the participation of youth in the farm sector has dropped drastically in recent years, due to losing its competitiveness because of high production cost and labour-intensive nature, the scheme is targetted at 1,200 selected youths to encourage them in commercial agricultural. It is scheduled to be completed by mid-July. “It aims at engaging some 800 farmers in vegetable production, 150 in fishery and 250 in animal husbandry,” Khanal added.

The programme also aims at generating self employment opportunities for 1,200 people, raise subsidy in crop and livestock insurance policies to 75 per cent of the premium amount, expand the coverage of livestock vaccination programme and expedite the process of importing hybrid cows from neighbouring countries.

Though, the governments claims to have given agriculture priority, the

agriculture is passing through its worst time. It is still the largest contributor to the economy.

The scheme might encourage youth to take to agriculture as they have been preferring to go to Gulf and Malaysia instead of engaging in their own farm back at home.

The success of the programme depends on youths, if they start taking agriculture seriously as a career. “The ministry has prepared a guideline for the programme with Rs 120 million budget,” he said, adding that it will offer more subsidy on insurance premiums, coupled with subsidy on the premium for insuring crops and livestock that will be raised to 75 per cent from 50 per cent by mid-May.

The ministry was allotted a recurrent budget of Rs 18.67 billion for the current fiscal year, of which only Rs 10.83 billion – or 58 per cent – was used in the first nine months of the fiscal ended mid-April, revealed Financial Comptroller General’s Office. “The ministry was also allocated a capital budget of Rs 2.73 billion – for the current fiscal year – of which mere Rs 679.03 million – or 24.87 per cent – has been used in the nine-month.”

Likewise, the ministry is launching special programme – in some of the pocket areas of Kathmandu valley, Kavre, Chitwan, Dhading, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Sindhupalchok – to encourage farmers to take up dairy production.

The ministry is also planning to launch urea-molasses mineral block technology to improve the efficiency of livestock production by distributing 1,400 kg of seeds of fodder crops and pasture grasses and milk buckets besides conducting vaccination.

Similarly, the ministry is also planning to bring guideline for the import of hybrid cows – according to Nepal-India Intergovernmental meeting’s decision – from India, apart from appointing two agro-technicians in each village development committee to help assist farming.

The ministry also plans to distribute 230,000 metric tonnes of subsidised chemical fertiliser within this fiscal year.

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