Government should confiscate barren land: Secretary
The government should confiscate the farmland, if a farmer household does not harvest for three years, according to a secretary.
Addressing an interaction, here in Kathmandu today, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister Krishna Hari Baskota said that the move will encourage the farmers to harvest regularly, unlike current trend of leaving it barn.
The subsistence agriculture pattern will not help promote the commercialisation of agriculture, he said, adding that the trend has to be reversed to make the agriculture commercial.
Some 3.5 million hacter of land is farm land in the country, though only less than half around 1.3 million has irrigation facility, Baskota said, adding that the government will help provide irrigation to all the farmland within the next five to seven years.
In the budget for the current fiscal year 2013-14, the government has allocated Rs 6 billion to Rs 7 billion for fertilizer subsidy. "If any entrepreneur plans to establish fertilizer plans, the government will provide 50 per cent subsidy, he promised, claiming that the government has also established Gene Bank to encourage the commercialisation of agriculture.
However, the agro-scientists claimed that the subsidy is far less than the subsidy provided by the neighbour India for its farmers.
Due to lack of access to loan and market, modern technology, improved seeds, fertilizer and irrigation on time, ever year the farmers have to pay more to smuggled fertilizer and untested seeds that have downgraded the quality of land.
Likewise, some 39.8 per cent of the total land is covered by forest in Nepal. "The forest areas should also be encouraged to use for cash crops, except grazing land for livestock," the secretary added.
Agriculture contributes to around 34 per cent in the gross domestic product (GDP) but the government apathy has left it becoming more subsistence rather than commercial.