KATHMANDU, Dec 8: As many as 2,000 farmers, or five times more than the available, have applied for grants to run model farm in Gandaki Province. The application call was announced by the Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture, and Cooperatives for receiving grants and building farmhouse. The grants are toward the entire operation costs of the initial year.
A total of Rs 400 million is allocated for distributing to 400 youths for attracting them in the agriculture sector as well enhancing entrepreneurship in this field, according to the ministry.
The ministry will now select qualified farmers for receiving grants as per standards set by Model Farm Operation Guidelines 2075, said Madhav Prasad Lamsal, under secretary of the ministry.
The recipients of the grants will be in four categories based on the job creation.
Small farms of investment of Rs 1 million have to employ at least two persons in the first year of operations and such job-holders should be at least four for the farms having investment within a range from Rs 1 million to Rs 2.5 million.
Likewise, farm enterprises with investment from Rs 2.5 million to Rs 5 million should provide jobs to 9 people in the first year, while minimum 15 persons should be employed in the farm with investment of over Rs 5 million.
The ministry will provide half of the project’s investment as grants in minimum three installments. In other words, the provincial ministry will pay Rs 500,000 for a farm establishment of Rs 1 million. The ministry will provide the grants on the basis of the first year of operation but won’t pay grants in advance.
The ministry had collected the applications from all Agriculture Knowledge Centers/Expert Centers of the province.
Thirty-five percent of the budget will be for small model farms while an equal percentage will be distributed to a farm that is oriented to enterprise while 20 percent for commercial farms and 10 percent for model farm of entrepreneurs.
Lamsal also said that the grants will however be provided based on the work progress. Agriculture Knowledge Center/Expert Centers of the province will evaluate applications through a three-member evaluation team led by a section officer.
The evaluation team will evaluate the application based on appropriate land for farming, available natural resources and other infrastructure, applicant’s technical knowledge, professional experience, main profession, status of the current enterprises, marginalized class/area, castes, earthquake/conflict victims, and new entrepreneurship in agriculture. Not all indicators have equal weight in awarding marks in evaluating forms. Any applicants need to secure minimum 50 percent marks to be eligible for the grants.
This program was unveiled in the budget for the current fiscal year by the provincial government. The grants program is aimed at building model farms of agriculture and livestock and will motivate youths to attract in the farm as well as assist farmers in the marginalized communities and also emphasize on livestock development, according to the policy document of the province government.