29 December, 2019, Butwal,

A dialogue on smallholders’ (peasant) access to government subsidies and other services concluded with specific recommendations to improve governance structure and law, policies and guidelines.  Hon’ble Vijaya Bdr. Yadav, Chairperson of Agriculture, Forest and Environment Committee of Provincial Assembly of Province no. 5 highlighted that constitutional rights have been curtailed by Acts and Rules. He stressed on the consistency among constitutional provisions, laws, policies and government programs that are targeted to the smallholders. He also pointed  many barriers for peasants to access government subsidies and agricultural services.

Hon’ble Kamalraj Shrestha, Member Provincial Assembly, Province no. 5 stressed on the adoption of  cooperative model to provide subsidies or other facilities to smallholders who will be organized through cooperative system.   Mr. Tej Bahadur Subedi, Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Environment of Province no. 5 expressed his commitment to disclose the real situation of subsidy issues and take lessons from the parliament’s oversight recommendations and also shown his commitment to improve agricultural subsidies related guidelines to facilitate easy access to smallholders.    Hon’ble Chet Narayan Acharya, Member of provincial parliament highlighted on the outcome of the parliamentary oversight, communication with the ministry and some changes in the situation.  He also shared that there are very encouraging and positive results from the utilization of government subsidies.

To facilitate the dialogue, Advocate Basant Pd. Adhikari, Executive Director of JuRI-Nepal presented paper focusing on federal laws and policies related to smallholder and Advocate TuK Thapa shared implementation challenges and issues at local level. More than 52 participants including nine provincial parliamentarians participated in the dialogues.

Nine members ESCR Network formed

At the end of the event, a nine members Province Level Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) Network has been formed with an objective to strengthen advocacy to realize Economic, social and cultural rights in Province No. 5.   This network to be coordinated by Siddhartha Social Development Center (SSDC), Kapilvastu for next two years.  Other network members include- Human Rights Alliance, Nawalparasi, and Peasant’s Rights Association, Kapilvastu, Samaj Bikash Nepal, Gulmi, Mukta Kamlari Munch and Consumer’s Forum form Dang, Jagaran Media Center and NGO Federation from Rupandehi. JuRI-Nepal is serving as secretariat of such network at federal level.

Mr. Tej Pd. Acharya, Chair of SSDC urged government to ensure rights of peasants through various measures, in which JuRI and SSDC will submit their recommendations in writing.  Mr. Bishnu Pd. Pokhrel, Program Manager of JuRI-Nepal highlighted objective of the program. This program was facilitated by Mr. Pom Pd. Poudel, Adviser of SSDC.