PM hopeful of mitigating COVID-19 impact on national economy by boosting up paddy production

Kathmandu, June 29 : Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said negative impact on national economy stemming from COVID-19 crisis could be minimized by increasing productivity and production in agriculture which has been remaining as the means of livelihood for a majority of Nepali and one of the major revenue sources of country’s economy.

In his best wishes on the occasion of the 17th National Paddy Day and Transplanting Festival here today, the Prime Minister insisted on not letting arable land go waste, not keeping such land barren and focusing on the enhancement of agro yields and productivity as per the nature and quality of soil.

As he said the celebration of the Day would inspire us to step up towards the destination of self-sufficiency on food. National Rice Day is celebrated with the theme of ‘increase rice production for self- sufficiency and prosperity’ Stating that ensuring people’s basic food security was the responsibility of a public welfare state, he said the constitution has guaranteed the right to food under the fundamental rights of the citizens. We have already the act relating to right to food and food sovereignty-2075 to implement such right.

The act has acknowledged every citizen’s right to food, food security and food sovereignty as the legal rights of people and we are clear in our national commitments towards the improvement of the status of food and nutrition security through the implementation of international resolutions and agricultural development strategies in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals which envisage a hunger-free society.

‘’Paddy has its economic, social and cultural importance in the Nepali society since time immemorial. Paddy remaining as the major source of food of almost all Nepalis has its strategic importance in view of food security. It has significant contribution to national economy,’’ the message further reads.

Stating that demand for paddy had been rampant in the past few years due to the population growth and improvement in people’s economic status, he said but the domestic production failing to meet the growing demand for rice had resulted in the huge expenditure to import rice.

He said, “It has also increased country’s dependency. Bearing this in mind, the Government of Nepal has emphatically formulated a policy and plan, and subsequently executed them to address the issue of increasing paddy productivity and sustaining food security in the country”.

The message further reads, “The incumbent government has been giving priority on expanding irrigation facility, research and development of paddy crops, managing subsidized quality seeds and manure, expanding technology and technical assistance and knowledge to farmers, reforming public distribution system and determining fixed price of agro products, among others.

However, there is a need of coordinated and concerted efforts from all three tiers of governments towards sustaining food security and reducing dependency in the country.

He also called for state governments and local levels to take stride in tandem for the successful implementation of the government policies in the context the Constitution has mandated the state governments and local levels more responsible on the agriculture and food security.

Agriculture sector development and growth is the main base for attaining national target of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’, he said, stressing the need of modernization, commercialization and use of machines.

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