Sustainable Agriculture Development Program

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Agriculture sector is the backbone of the Nepalese economy occupying a place of pride in the field of National income, livelihood employment, industrial development and international trade. However, agriculture as the main occupation is mostly unproductive. It is carried on in an old fashion with the absolute and outdated methods of production as a result. The yield from land is precariously low and peasants continue to live at a bars subsistence level. Overcrowding and consequent pressure of population on land has led to sub-division and fragmentation of holding, declined in the area of land per capita, disguised unemployment and marginal productivity of labour zero or even negative. It is attributed to low ratio of land to labour, inferior soil outdate technology insufficient land use pattern, small amount of capital in use etc. It is obvious that not much can be achieved unless pressure of population on land is reduced and market-oriented approach and commercialisation process are initiated.

The Agricultural Perspective Plan  (APP) on the Tenth Plan focused on commercialisation and diversification of the agriculture by cultivating higher value crops and creating conducive environment for the participation of private sector and reducing poverty by increasing agriculture production and employment opportunities (The Tenth Plan, 2002). Considering the fundamental aspects of agriculture development, the basic feature of plan formation, implementation and monitoring process requires combine effort of all sectors.

Some newly emerging challenges are facing Nepal's agriculture. The trend of climate change has increased the vulnerability of both water intensive cropping system and rain fed agriculture. The soaring food price are affecting the food security and increasing vulnerability of the poor and small holder farmers as they are the net food buyers. For rural youths, agriculture is becoming least preferred vocation even as there is high unemployment rate among them.

The goal of sustainable agriculture programme leading by NEDI is to promote the integrated programme to alleviate poverty of Nepal. It has been working on integrated rural development approach which includes resource access to farmers, capacity building, establishing network, market opportunities, facilitating interaction, and partnership. Its primarily fused is to empower  small scale family farmers.

NEDI focus areas are:
•    Promoting local inputs sustainable agriculture  and capacity building
•    Increase access to resources improved seeds, organic fertilizer, agriculture loan, crop insurance and infrastructure development.
•    Market promotion and promoting agro market.
•    Integrated agricultural production (model farming)
•    Advocacy and sensitization campaign on farmers issues  (Climate change effect on agriculture, right to food,  food education, food for thought, food  security)
•    Encourage turning  back remittance income into enlarging opportunities in agriculture  for the rural youth
•    Knowledge, skills and technology sharing, agriculture education.
•    Food education
•    Promoting organic farming and multifunctional farming
•    Promoting farms group and its network
•    Plant Protection trainings
•    Research