Kathmandu, May 30: The government has presented the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2022/23 focusing to make the country self-reliant in agriculture by increasing productivity and production of agricultural goods so as to substitute imports.
The government has allocated Rs. 55.97 billion for the overall development of agriculture and livestock sectors for the next fiscal year.
Finance Minister Janardan Sharma unveiled the budget for the fiscal year 2022/23 on Sunday.
The government has taken a policy to reduce the import of basic agricultural produces in the new budget.
Targets to reduce agri import by 30%
Finance Minister Sharma said that the import of paddy, maize, wheat and vegetables would be reduced by 30 per cent in the coming fiscal year.
He announced that a special campaign 'Increase in Production, Development and Prosperity of the Country' would be observed for a decade.
Similarly, the coming fiscal year will be celebrated as the campaign year of agricultural production to increase agricultural production and productivity, he said.
Minimum support price for paddy, wheat and maize will be fixed and food grains will be procured through Food Management and Trading Company.
Emphasis will be given on local and hybrid seeds for self-reliant in agriculture, he added.
The government has allocated Rs. 10 billion for the implementation of the agricultural production programme for self-reliance.
“To develop a prosperous economy by increasing domestic and foreign investment in productive sectors with comparative advantage, innovation in small and medium enterprises, increasing skill-based employment, expanding market for Nepali products, increasing production and consumption through value chain development and promoting import substitution and export, it has been announced that the Decade of Nepali Production and Consumption Growth Campaign will be launched under the slogan 'Employment: Own Production, Own Business', said FM Sharma.
The government has announced to support the 'Make in Nepal' and 'Made in Nepal' campaigns run by the private sector to promote and expand indigenous products.
Nepal will take initiative to achieve international recognition of quality by modernising and upgrading the quality and calibration laboratory, he said.
The government has announced to appoint agricultural experts in all 753 local levels and agricultural technicians in all wards across the country.
The budget aims to increase agricultural production by increasing the number of agricultural technicians across the country.
The government has proposed Rs. 5.90 billion for the Prime Minister's Agriculture Modernisation Project and Rs. 10 billion for agricultural reform.
Rs. 15 billion allocated for fertiliser import
The government has proposed to allocate Rs. 15 billion for the purchase of chemical fertiliser required for farmers.
Farmers are facing problems as they do not get fertilizer in time. There is a shortage of chemical fertilizers in the market now.
He also informed that agricultural insurance would be expanded, agricultural collection centres would be set up and agricultural ambulances would be managed.
He also informed that Rs. 810 million has been allocated for sugarcane farmers.
He also said that Nepal would become self-reliant in sugar.
Similarly, the government has announced to provide additional grant of Rs. 50 million each for three local bodies of each province which are contributing to agricultural transformation.
He announced that barren and unused arable land would be made available in rent to farmers, farmers' cooperative groups and cooperatives in coordination with the federal, province and local levels.
Microfinance fund for providing loans to farmers
The government has announced establishment of a microfinance fund of Rs. 5 billion to provide agricultural credits to farmers.
Such a fund is being set up to provide concessional and concessional loans to farmers.
“Banks and financial institutions must contribute to this fund,” he said.
The government has put forward a farmers' pension scheme.
Finance Minister Sharma said, "A farmers' interest fund will be set up to start the farmers' pension programme."
The government will deposit 10 per cent of the amount deposited by the farmers in this fund every month.
He said, "Around Rs. 1 billion has been allocated as capital to set up the fund."
Minister Sharma said that exemption will be given in public service on the basis of farmers' identity card.