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Enabling Environment for Agricultural Technology Innovation and Adoption: Policy, Legislation and Practice

SAWTEE and Feed the Future Project, Winrock International organized a half-day stakeholder roundtable discussion on “Enabling Environment for Agricultural Technology Innovation and Adoption: Policy, Legislation and Practice” in Kathmandu on 12 January 2018.

The aim of the consultation meeting was to identify policy, regulatory and implementation issues impeding the development, transfer, adaptation and adoption of appropriate innovative technology in the agriculture sector in Nepal, necessary for increasing productivity and trade competitiveness. Feedback was sought on the preliminary findings of a research on the topic, to enrich the study and generate policy recommendations. In particular, inputs were gathered to prepare a scorecard of policy and regulatory issues in the area of agricultural technology in Nepal.

The participants said that surging imports of agricultural commodities indicated a tremendous potential for Nepal to expand agricultural production. Speaking at the programme, stakeholders called for a revamp of critical interventions for the deployment of productivity-enhancing technologies.

Chair of the roundtable, Dr Prabhu Budhathoki, Member, National Planning Commission, said policy interventions aimed at improving the uptake of technology appear to be driven more by the interest of bureaucrats rather than farmers’ needs. While participatory methods are much more productive, government-supported training programmes largely exclude farmers, he added.

Neelu Thapa, Programme Coordinator, SAWTEE, argued that a credible mapping of existing agricultural value chains is crucial for farmers’ access to credit. Stating that Nepal’s agricultural exports are being hindered by safety standards and requirements in key markets, she emphasized the urgent need to upgrade domestic testing and certification facilities.

Toya Narayan Gyawali, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, pointed to the massive agricultural imports, exceeding one billion rupees each in over two dozen commodities. He highlighted the importance of technological learning in inducing participation in regional and global value chains.

Dr Hari Krishna Uprety, Communication and Publication Chief, Nepal Agricultural Research Council, said land consolidation, currently low, is key to commercialized agriculture. Inadequate understanding about contract farming is preventing rapid agricultural commercialization, critical for achieving import substitution and export expansion, said Ms Sunita Nhemaphuki, an entrepreneur associated with Agri Nepal. Dr Krishna Prasad Pant, agricultural economist, identified poorly trained extension services workers as a major impediment to dissemination of technologies among farmers.

Speakers also highlighted the role of training and awareness-raising programmes, currently few and far between, in enabling farmers to use agriculture mechanization tools. Some 20 stakeholders including policymakers, agri-business entrepreneurs and agriculture sector experts participated in the roundtable discussion.

Programme Agenda

Presentation: Enabling Environment for Agricultural Technology Innovation and Adoption: Policy, legislation and Practice Review

Neelu Thapa, Programme Coordinator  South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics & Environment (SAWTEE)