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Finance ministry cuts agriculture budget to leave farmers on the receiving end

File: Farmers work in a paddy field in Kathmandu.

Kathmandu, April 22

The Ministry of Finance has significantly decreased the budget ceiling for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, in the plan for the next fiscal year.

The Ministry of Agriculture says it is likely to affect various programmes giving the farmers better facilities.

The ministry’s spokesperson Shree Ram Ghimire says the ministry was given Rs 37 billion for this fiscal year, but it will be restricted to Rs 32 billion for the next year.

The ministry had proposed an equal amount to the Ministry of Finance for the next year also and was hopeful that the Finance Ministry would be generous enough to allocate a few billion more rupees, the ministry’s secretary Yogendra Kumar Karki says.

“If we had a bigger budget, we would have done more works,” Karki is still hopeful, “I have informed the Finance (Ministry) that it is not enough. They have assured me a rethinking.”

“Slashing the budget means squeezing projects,” Ghimire says, “It will affect grants that the farmers are receiving among other facilities.”

Karki informs if the budget is not increased, the ministry has to reduce the amount it would send to provincial and local governments as grants. Likewise, the slashing would affect programmes related to modernisation, organic fertiliser and farming systems, local nursery development programmes and irrigation programmes.

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