Discussion on enhancing agricultural productivity

South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) and Winrock International organised a roundtable discussion on measures to expand agricultural production with agri-business entrepreneurs, government stakeholders and agriculture sector experts.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on “Enabling Environment for Agricultural Technology Innovation and Adoption: Policy, Legislation and Practice”, stakeholders called for a revamp of critical interventions for the deployment of productivity-enhancing technologies.

Prabhu Budhathoki, Member of 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 farmer needs. While participatory methods are much more productive, government-supported training programmes largely exclude farmers”.

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

Likewise, Toya Narayan Gyawali, Joint Secretary of 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.Speakers also highlighted the role of training and awareness raising programmes, currently few and far between, in enabling farmers to use agriculture mechanisation tools.