Agriculture is the backbone of Nepal’s economy, employing over 66 percent of the population and contributing approximately 34 percent to the GDP (FAO, 2022). The government of Nepal has recognized the importance of agriculture and has formulated several policies and programs to promote sustainable agriculture practices, increase agricultural productivity, and improve farmers’ livelihoods. The National Agriculture Policy of Nepal is one such policy that outlines the government’s vision and strategies for the development of the agricultural sector.
National Agriculture Policy of Nepal:
The National Agriculture Policy of Nepal was first formulated in 2004 (read the policy pdf) to achieve sustainable and equitable development of the agricultural sector. The policy was revised in 2019 to align it with the current needs and challenges of the sector. The revised policy aims to increase agricultural productivity, improve farmers’ livelihoods, and ensure food and nutritional security for all.
The key objectives of the National Agriculture Policy of Nepal are:
- Increase agricultural productivity and output by implementing modern technologies and practices.
- To promote environmentally friendly and socially equitable sustainable agriculture practices.
- Farmers’ access to markets and income should be improved.
- To ensure food and nutritional security for all, particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups.
- To encourage agricultural research and development.
- To encourage private investment in agriculture.
Key strategies of the National Agriculture Policy of Nepal:
- Productivity Enhancement: The policy aims to boost agricultural productivity by encouraging modern technology, high-yielding varieties, and better farming methods.
- Agriculture Diversification: The policy aims to promote agricultural diversification by promoting high-value crops, livestock, and fisheries to increase farmers’ income and reduce reliance on traditional crops.
- Food Security: The policy aims to ensure food security by increasing food crop production and improving food access for vulnerable populations.
- Promoting Agricultural Research and Development: The policy aims to promote agricultural research and development to increase productivity, improve agricultural product quality, and promote sector innovation.
- Improving Rural Infrastructure: The policy seeks to improve rural infrastructure, such as irrigation, roads, and marketing facilities, to improve market access, reduce post-harvest losses, and increase farmer income.
- Agricultural Extension Service Strengthening: The policy aims to strengthen agricultural extension services to provide farmers access to information, technology, and training on modern farming practices.
- Promoting Sustainable Agriculture: The policy aims to promote sustainable agriculture by promoting natural resource conservation and sustainable use, reducing harmful chemicals, and promoting climate-resilient farming practices.
- Improving Agricultural Finance Access: The policy aims to improve agricultural finance access by providing credit to small farmers, promoting microfinance, and establishing an agricultural credit guarantee fund.
- Promoting Private Sector Investment: The policy aims to get private companies to invest in agriculture by giving them incentives, making it easier for them to do so, and promoting public-private partnerships.
Achievements and Challenges:
Despite the government’s efforts to promote the development of the agricultural sector, several challenges need to be addressed. Nepal is a landlocked country with difficult terrain, making transporting agricultural products to markets challenging. The lack of infrastructure, such as roads and storage facilities, hinders the sector’s growth.
Climate change is another major challenge facing the agricultural sector in Nepal. Erratic weather patterns, droughts, and floods have become more frequent in recent years, leading to crop failures and loss of livelihoods for farmers (Bhusal, 2019).
Despite these challenges, the agricultural sector in Nepal has made significant progress in recent years. Adopting modern technologies and practices has led to increased productivity and production. The government has also implemented several programs to promote organic fertilizers, improving soil health and reducing the environmental pollution.
Read: Current Policies and Acts of Nepal
According to the latest data, Nepal’s agricultural GDP share is 23.95 percent in 2021-22, followed by industry and service sectors with 14.29 percent and 61.76 percent, respectively in 2021/22, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic (Current Macroeconomic and Financial Situation of Nepal, 2022). The government has also launched several programs, such as the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project, which aims to transform the agricultural sector by promoting modern technologies and practices.
The National Agriculture Policy of Nepal provides a roadmap for the development of the agricultural sector in the country. While several challenges need to be addressed, the government’s efforts, coupled with the resilience of farmers, have led to significant progress in recent years. Nepal can achieve its vision of a vibrant and prosperous agricultural sector by promoting sustainable agriculture practices, improving market access, and ensuring food and nutritional security for all.
- Current Macroeconomic and Financial Situation of Nepal. (2022). Nepal Rastra Bank. Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.nrb.org.np/contents/uploads/2022/08/Current-Macroeconomic-and-Financial-Situation-English-Based-on-Annual-data-of-2021.22-2.pdf
- FAO. (2022). Nepal at a glance|FAO in Nepal|Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.fao.org/nepal/fao-in-nepal/nepal-at-a-glance/en/
- Bhusal, S. (2019, June 26). Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change and the Climate Change Adaptations- A Nepalese Context Review. Acta Scientific Agriculture, 3(7), 234–238. https://doi.org/10.31080/asag.2019.03.0550