KATHMANDU, May 28: Prioritising the agriculture sector, the government has introduced a number of farmers-focused programs through the budget for the next fiscal year 2020/21, allocating Rs 41 billion for the promotion of agricultural produce and Rs 27 billion for irrigation alone.
Installation of weather radars at two locations, establishment of land banks at 300 locations and promotion of cooperative farming are among the programs that the government has announced through the budget unveiled on Thursday.
The government has allocated Rs 3.22 billion to promote ‘one local unit, one pocket product. The government has also planned to set up one standard food testing lab each in Karnali Province and Gandaki Province in the next fiscal year. Similarly, the government plans to establish a well-equipped animal quarantine lab at all main customs points to ensure consumption of chemical and disease free food.
Along with facilitating contract farming and land pooling approaches for cultivation, the budget has provisioned setting up 78 agriculture wholesale markets in all seven provinces. Similarly, the budget calls for providing cash subsidy to the farmers producing improved seeds. To ensure the supply of adequate chemical fertilisers during the paddy replantation season, the government has increased the budget under the heading to Rs 11 billion.
The fund has been established to produce more than five million units of fruit saplings in the next fiscal year. The government is allocating an additional Rs 950 million for the promotion of sugarcane production.
Unveiling the budget for the next fiscal year, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada also said that branding of major herbs and cash crops including Nepali coffee will be carried out in the next fiscal year. Farmer credit cards will be introduced in the next fiscal year to promote easy accessibility of small farmers to bank loans, he added.
Likewise, the government has targeted to expand irrigation facilities in additional 22,000 hectares of land, via the promotion of shallow water irrigation systems. For this purpose, the government is facilitating 5,000 small and medium irrigation systems in 25 districts. Mahakali Irrigation Project will be promoted as a project of national pride, according to the government fiscal plans for the next fiscal year.