Kathmandu- Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada has said the agriculture sector could not be transformed as the technology has been confined to the laboratory.
Addressing a programme titled “Nepal’s Agriculture Structure: Constructive Change for Prosperity” organized by Nepal Sociological Association in the capital today, he suggested that price adjustment would be important to reduce the production cost of the agricultural sector as it was always weak compared to other productions.
The Finance Minister stressed on the need of modernizing the agriculture sector with the optimum use of technology, saying the conclusions of the studies and researches conducted by various sectors have not reached the farmers’ doorstep.
“The technology is confined in the laboratory. The studies carried out by NARC, NAST, universities are there amongst us but have not reached the farmer’s doorstep. Now is the time to pay attention to this aspect,” he said.
Minister Khatiwada opined that the agricultural sector has not transformed despite the various incentives and facilities provided to it. He stressed on the paramount role of technology to boost and transform agriculture, expressing concern over the decrease in arable land due to various reasons.
The Finance Minister shared that the government expected agricultural production to be above five per cent this year. He argued that the country would be self-sufficient in food grains provided there is balanced distribution.
“The problem is that two-thirds of the labourers are engaged in agriculture whose production is merely one-third. This ratio should be brought down to at least one-third in the next 10 years and the bulk of the labour force should be engaged in other enterprises,” he added.
Stating the fact that ownership of women over land which stood at eight per cent in the past has now reached 30 per cent was a notable development, Finance Minister Khatiwada said bringing transformation was difficult when looked at from the sociological perspective until the society’s view towards women, the problem in marriage and domestic responsibilities were changed.
Agro scientist Dr Kailash Nath Pyakurel said that the programme has been organized with the objective of giving a sociological analysis of the land reform and the agriculture policy and programmes. He added that the campaign, ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’, would also be deliberated upon from a sociological point of view in the programme.
The working paper on land and agriculture, gender concept in agriculture sector and food security presented by Dr Purna Subedi, Dr Bishnu Uprety, Dr Yubaraj Luitel and Yamuna Ghale were discussed in the programme.
Association president Prof Dr Ganeshman Gurung said it is the job of the sociologists to make the government see the society and the conclusions and recommendations arrived at in the programme would be submitted to the government.
Representative of the Agriculture and Forestry University, Ramhari Timilsina, Action Aid director Sujita Mathema, sociologist Bidya Bhattarai, among the speakers, also put their views in the programme.