Agriculture Knowledge Center, Kavre, provided subsidy of 20-80% to farmers of Kavre, Sindhupalchowk
BANEPA, July 23: The Province 3 government distributed 19 types of equipment to farmers at subsidized rates through Agriculture Knowledge Center, Kavre, in Fiscal Year 2018/19.
The center provided subsidies ranging from 20 to 80% of the cost of equipment like mini tiller, power tiller with cultivator, reaper and potato digger, among others, to farmers of Kavre and Sindhupalchowk district.
"Farmers of the two districts had sought Rs 60 million worth of farm equipment. But as we received only Rs 40 million for the purpose, we invited bids for supply of farm equipment accordingly," Tharka Bahadur GC, a crop development officer at the center, told Republica.
According to GC, though farmers were excited initially, they lost interest when they knew that they would have to pay 20 to 80% of the cost depending on equipment. "We have distributed altogether 1,362 equipment costing Rs 46.85 million. Of the total amount, Rs 24.69 million was provided by the provincial government, while remaining Rs 22.16 million was arranged by the farmers," added GC.
Farmers were mostly attracted toward equipment like mini tiller and power tiller with cultivator.
"We spent Rs 11.88 million to buy 457 mini tillers and Rs 5.25 million to purchase 70 power tillers," GC said, adding: "Superzone, pocket and block as well as farmers used to buy such equipment in the past. Demand for farm equipment increased as there is a tendency of buying new machineries instead of repairing the existing ones."
Some farmers have complained that the center distributed equipment to cooperatives instead of individual farmers. "We were informed about the subsidy program rather late. When we approached the center to place order for farm equipment, officials there told us that cooperatives have already taken the equipment and that the quota for FY2018/19 was already used up," a farmer of Sindhupalchowk told Republica. Stating that many farmers, who had already received subsidy from municipalities and rural municipalities, benefited from the center's subsidy program, he said effective monitoring of the program was necessary.
An agricultural expert said the center should involve local units for implementation of subsidy programs and focus on monitoring of the program instead.