National Dialogue on the Status of Contract Farming in Nepal and the Urgency of Drafting Contract Farming Legislation

A national-level dialogue on the Status of Contract Farming in Nepal and the Urgency of Drafting Contract Farming Legislation was organized in Kathmandu on 16 October 2017 by the Advocacy for Rights and Good Corporate Governance (UNNATI) programme.

Press release | Kathmandu, Nepal | 16 October 2017
KATHMANDU (ILO News): The World Vision Advocacy Forum (WVAF) organized a national-level dialogue on the status of contract farming in Nepal, with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and financial support from the Government of Denmark, as part of the Advocacy for Rights and Good Corporate Governance (UNNATI) project. The event was organized with a view to press for drafting a contract farming legislation.

The Chief Guest for the event was Hon. Mohan Prasad Baral, Former Chair, Agriculture and Water Resources Parliamentary Committee. The event was chaired by Dinesh Tripathi, Chairperson of WVAF and Senior Advocate; Dr. Suroj Pokhrel, Secretary, Ministry of Agricultural Development and Nabin Karna, National Programme Coordinator of UNNATI, ILO were present as special guests. In addition, the event included dignitaries such as Amrit Kumar Bohara, Former Minister and Politburo Member of Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) Party; Deepak Prasad Baskota, Former Minister of State and Chairperson of the Himalayan Orthodox Tea Producers Association (HOTPA); Pramila Rajbhandari, Professor at Tribhuvan University and Board Member of WVAF; Keshab Prasad Baral, Chairperson of National Cooperative Federation of Nepal; Baburam Giri, Senior Advocate; Tej Bahadur Subedi, Member Secretary of National Farmers Commission among others.

The national-level dialogue began with a presentation from Kamal Raj Gautam, Agri-Economist on the global perspectives and status of contract farming in Nepal. His presentation detailed the concept of contract farming, along with the importance of it, the risks and benefits associated with it and the scope of contract farming in Nepal. His work stressed that contract farming, if done right, could be a win-win for both farmers as well as firms (buyers).

In his presentation Dibakar Paudyal, Agri-Economist, presented his paper on the challenges of adopting contract farming in Nepal with an emphasis on the lessons learned from districts and regional level dialogues. He stressed the need for a robust contract farming policy so that there is a legal clarity governing this concept. Borne out of the realization that there is a gap between policies and implementation, he shared that the policies governing contract farming should be strong and clear, highlighting that commercialization of agriculture is a powerful multiplier to economic growth.

Shirish Pun, Agri-Economist, presented the final paper for the event based on a review of existing supportive provisions relevant to contract farming. His paper detailed the government and private sector efforts in driving contact farming, and then evaluated the existing policies and legislation. This was followed by an identification of the constraints and challenges towards it and then an analysis of the way forward. He claimed that there is an urgent need for policy and legislation so as to be able to reap maximum benefits out of the agricultural sector.

In his remarks, Dr. Suroj Pokhrel shared that the presentations now needed to be understood in the context of the new federal governance structure of the country. He shared that there is a need for public-private partnership as well as a cooperative-community partnership. Hon. Mohan Prasad Baral raised an important point about looking into how contract farming can make use of the barren lands in the country. Tej Bahadur Subedi reiterated the need to ensure the local farmers were aware of the concept of contract farming and how they would benefit from it.

Nabin Karna elucidated that there is a need to address the trade deficit and the issue of job creation in Nepal. He emphasized legal instruments that support the agricultural sector growth and the farmers’ well-being are necessary, raising a pertinent point about the need for a shift towards living wages. Keshab Baral, in his address, stressed the necessity for Nepali agricultural products to be able to compete with neighboring products, reasserting that agriculture is the root of development. Amrit Kumar Bohara further addressed the issue of making agriculture more attractive within the cocoon of decent work. The event concluded with final remarks from Dinesh Tripathi who claimed that agriculture sector has not received the attention it deserves, further claiming that the money invested in agriculture is money invested in democracy, it is the money invested in human rights, and it is the money invested in the people.

For further information, please contact:

Nabin Kumar Karna
National Programme Coordinator
Advocacy for Rights and Good Corporate Governance
Telephone: 977 1 5555777 (ext. 308)