June 24: Finance Minister Janardan Sharma said that the government has adopted a policy to encourage farmers instead of providing them with grants from the upcoming fiscal year.
The finance minister made such remark during a meeting with a delegation of World Bank led by its managing director Mari Elka Pangestu on Thursday. The Finance Minister argued that the government’s new move was targeted to increase production by encouraging the farmers.
“The loan has not reached to the poor farmers. There are examples that small farmers have honestly repaid the loans if they had borrowed. However, the grants have not reached to the genuine farmers. So, we opted the policy to encourage the farmers,” Minister Sharma argued.
Stating that the budget has accorded top priority to the agriculture sector in the upcoming fiscal year, Finance Minister Sharma said that Nepal needs support from the development partners in this regard.
Sharing that the government has unveiled the idea of agriculture ambulance to ensure an accessible supply of agricultural goods to the market, the Finance Minister said Nepal’s trade deficit cannot be reduced until the imports of agricultural goods worth Rs 350 billion was substituted.
“In order to substitute imports, we have focused on increasing agricultural produce and industrial production and to promote their export,” the finance minister told the World Bank delegation.
During the meeting, World Bank’s Managing Director Pangestu urged the minister to pay attention to food security adding that green, resilient and inclusive development (GRID) is about building a better future in an integrated manner.