Experts hail small farmers’ contribution in socio-economic development, poverty reduction
KATHMANDU, March 1: Small Farmers’ Summit 2019 kicked off in Kathmandu on Thursday, putting a spotlight on the contribution of small farmers in economic development and poverty alleviation of the country.
The two-day summit, which has brought over a total of 1,200 participants including 1,000 small farmers from across the country, featured over half a dozen sessions where planners, policymakers, bankers and small farmers, among other stakeholders, will discuss on bringing prosperity of small farmers by transforming agriculture and promoting entrepreneurship.
Sana Kisan Bikas Laghubitta Bittiya Sanstha Ltd (SKBLBL) is the organizer of the summit, while Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Capital Development Fund and Agricultural Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) are the co-organizers.
The first summit was organized in 2014.
Speaking at a session entitled ‘Roles of Small Farmers’, Pushpa Raj Kandel, the vice chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC), said that cooperatives of small farmers have played a significant role in increasing agricultural production of the country. He added that the government was working on policies and programs to double agricultural production over next five years.
According to Sharma, the role of small farmers is instrumental in meeting the government’s target of doubling agro products in five years.
Also speaking in the session, economist Shankar Sharma pointed out access to credit as a big challenge for small farmers. He also said that there was a need to encourage youths returning after working in farming sector in Israel to utilize their skills in agriculture sector.
Sher Bahadur Pariyar, a member of an agro cooperative, said that agricultural cooperatives across the country have played a crucial role in uplifting the living standards of small farmers.
Similarly, Khem Bahadur Pathak, chairman of SKBLBL, said that latest technologies used in the world should be brought in Nepal to boost agricultural production and productivity, reduce the cost for farmers.
The summit that will conclude on Friday will discuss on issues ranging from poverty alleviation, elimination of hunger, employment generation, environment conservation and sustainable development goals, among others.
Experts on agro sector and leaders of farmers are presenting 28 working papers, while experts and small farmers will comment on those papers and deliver their views.
Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Chakrapani Khanal are scheduled to address the summit on Friday before the summit issues declaration based on discussions and deliberations in the summit, according to the organizers.