KATHMANDU, March 11: Former Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Yubaraj Khatiwada, has said that agro subsidies should be provided through cooperatives rather than directly handing it over to individuals.
Speaking at the 16th anniversary of Sana Kisan Bikas Bank Ltd (SBBL) in Kathmandu on Friday, Khatiwada, who is also the former vice president of National Planning Commission, said that commercialization of agriculture in Nepal is possible within five years if subsidies and support announced for farmers to increase production are channelized through agro cooperatives.
“Subsidies distributed to individuals are likely to be misused. If the government channelizes such resources through agro cooperatives, these cooperatives will facilitate and monitor beneficiary farmers,” said Khatiwada. “As many of these agro cooperatives are formed or getting help from Sana Kisan Bikas Bank Ltd, these should be a part of value chain. If we walk on this path for five years, we can commercialize farming in Nepal,” he added.
He also advised the bank to tap the middle-level farmers by providing them financial resources and other capacity to increase agro production.
Also speaking at the function, another former central bank Governor, Deependra Bahadur Kshetry, lauded the role of small farmers in country's economic development.
According to Jalan Kumar Sharma, the CEO of SBBL, the 'D' class microfinance institution has been serving nearly 650,000 families through 756 cooperatives. Nearly 76 percent of the beneficiaries are women, he added.
The microfinance institution, which is promoted by Agricultural Development Bank Ltd, the Nepal Government, Nabil Bank Ltd and Nepal Bank Ltd among other financial institutions, has mobilized a total of Rs 35.7 billion in capital, including Rs 20 billion from the share and saving mobilized by its member agro cooperatives.
The microfinance institution has been also sending children of beneficiary farmers to Israel to acquire modern farming skills and technology.