Analysis of Policy Provisions and Government program

Budget for Agroecology promotion in Nepal

Dr.Krishnaprasad Paudel
Summary report on
Analysis of Policy Provisions and Government program & Budget for Agroecology promotion in Nepal
Desk Review
This desk review research work presents the government’s expenditure and policy provisions on agroecology. The national program and budget have been identified an important aspect that need to be analysed in detail to generate valuable information as evidence for policy advocacy and change.
Anecdotal and preliminary studies on this area are going on, however, we propose to develop robust case, based on the evidences of comprehensive review of policies, program and field practices so that this can be used for building capacities of right holders as well as inform policy arena.
Agroecology as one of the solutions to agriculture for food; response to climate change adaptation, restoring environment degradation and food security as an alternative to the existing farming system.

2.About the study
This desk review followed mix method approach of research method using both quantitative and qualitative method of inquiry. The details of the program activities and associated budget was drawn from the official documents. The analysis was drawn from the discussions at various forums, lessons and reflections embedded with the data from qualitative assessment and triangulated with the observation at field, secondary data, structured interviews and case stories.
Team reviewed key policy and program documents on agroecology, following the review on synthesizing the features of agroecology in policy documents, budget and expenditure, and insights of farmers and their field practices which are presented in the form of case stories of selected field sites.
3.The study
Based on the devised research questions within the conceptual framework of the proposed study, an analytical framework has been worked out to review agroecology policies and practices. This review work was carried out in policy, program and budgetary arrangements, and its implementation in field sites. The analysis of the results was made using the analytical framework for the assessment of key principles of agroecology .
Various policy provisions, documents and programs are reviewed, briefly synthesized and assessed to see the scope of promoting agroecology in Nepal. The key themes covered in this review works are;
 Agriculture related policy documents (National Agriculture Policy, Organic Standard, Biodiversity Conservation Policy, National Seed Policy, etc.)
 International global frameworks such as Zero hunger, SDGs.
 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs), such as National Climate Change Policy, National Adaptation Program of Actions (NAPA),
 Gender, climate strategy, Biodiversity conservation
Following documents were reviewed to understand the agroecology in policies:
The report of High Level Taskforce on Organic Agriculture (HLTFOA) 2019
The recommendations of International Organic Conference 2019
Agriculture Development Strategy-ADS (2015-2030) :
Fifteenth Plan of National Planning Commission (2076/77-2080/81)
Agroforestry Policy 2019:
National Agricultural Policy 2004
Agrobiodiversity Policy 2007
Multi-Sector Nutrition Policy -MSNP (2013-2017/2023)
Food and Nutrition Security Plan of Action (FNSP)
Zero Hunger Challenge National Action Plan (2016 – 2025), Nepal
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nepal
National Adaptation Program of Actions (NAPA) 2010
Policy provisions at province and local level
3.1 Program and Budget in agroecology promotion
Agriculture Expenditure as a Proportion of Annual Budget
Figure 1: Agriculture Budget as Percent of National Annual Budget
Source: Ministry of Finance, GoN, 2078 (2021/22)
Figure 2: Programs and budget allocation for agriculture in periodic (Five year and three year) plans
Source: Ministry of Finance, GoN, 2078 (2021/22)
Figure 3: Population engaged in agriculture
Source: MoALD, 2077 (2020/21)
Figure 4: Allocation of budget by programs in DOA for fiscal year 2020/21
Source: DOA, 2021
Fig 5: Annual Agriculture Budget Growth Relative to National Budget (%)

Source: MoALD, 2078 (2021/22)
Budget and expenditure in agroecology
The budget allocation on agroecology is very low out of the budget allocation in agriculture, it is very insignificant as well gradually decreasing in each year. Less than 5% allocated in fiscal year 076/077. It was reduced to less than 1% in 077/78.
out of the allocated budget to agroecology activities (mentioned above) some budget was transferred in another heading. In 076/077 4.21 % was transfer to other heading whereas in 077/078 28.21% budget was transferred. Mostly budget of field support activities was transferred while training, exposure was expensed.
Almost 50% allocation has not been used in both fiscal years. Most of the unused budget are field support activities  
There is some added budget in agroecology related headings. Such additions are mostly related to training, exposure and study act
Composition of Agricultural Expenditure and Program Priority among Research and Extension
Foreign Aid in Agriculture
Budget absorptive capacity
Budget Allocation Patterns in Province and Municipalities
Table 1: Distribution of budget for agricultural program, Bijayanagar rural municipality (2021/22)

Total agriculture budget =Rs. 70,50,000
Extension budget (Rs. 000) Farmer support (Rs. 000) Agricultural and livestock input (Rs. 000)
Agriculture Livestock Subsidy Insurance Conventional Agro-ecology
1200 1750 950 150 2900 100
17.02 % 24.82% 13.47% 2.12% 41.13% 1.41%
Source: Profile of Bijayanagar RM, 2021/22

Table 2: Distribution of budget for agricultural program, Belaka rural municipality (2021/22)
Total agriculture budget: Rs.1,80,00,000

Extension budget (Rs. 000) Farmer support (Rs. 000) Agricultural and livestock input (Rs. 000)
Agriculture Livestock Subsidy Insurance Conventional Agro-ecology
3495 2140 1810 200 5305 600
19.41% 11.88% 10.05% 1.11% 29.47% 3.33%
Source: profile of belaka rural municipality (2021/22)

Table 3: Budget allocated for agriculture sector, Karnali Province (2021/22)

Total Budget for agriculture program Rs 1,46,40,00,000 (9.18% of total budget of Karnali Province)
Budget for Agroecology promotion Rs 20,00,00,000
% of budget for Agroecology promotion 13.66 %
Source: MoLMAC, 2021/22

3.3 Agroecology at ground: Farmer’s experiences
The cases from the ground provide insights on the initiatives of the farmers, focus and perceived benefit of the agroecology. We looked into more than 60 cases of agroecological practices with both success and failure cases. Here are some key features of the different categories of cases in brief.

First, farmers are adapting the agroecology farm practices as the traditional approach of sustainable agriculture practices of their family farms.

Second, many cases suggest some followed the various type of agroecology practices as design farm such as permaculture design at farm level, local races promotion and have designed the farm in an integrated farm and doing intensive agriculture in small piece of land. Third types of farms are based on organic inputs tools and techniques. Fourth, another types of cases are more focused on soil and human health concern. Fifth, home/kitchen gardens are another category of agroecology practices.

4. Key findings
The understanding on agroecology among the actors and institutions is very diverse. There is common understanding on agriculture system- a basis of healthy food and nutrition for all. However, there is difference based on their background, roles, positions as well as perceived benefits.
The review of policies and the findings suggest that there are very few references of agroecology principles and practices in the Nepalese context. The whole orientation of agriculture system is unilaterally guided by green revolution agriculture framework. In particular, financial subsidies and group approaches is promoting monoculture in agriculture production as well as adapting agricultural cultural practices.

Policy documents, program and budget and its implementation, and learning from experiences and lessons are interconnected spiraling processes. The current notion of policy process is neither well informed nor articulated with the overall changing context of agroecology.

The same situation is with budget expenditure. There are some tokenistic approaches to promote agroecology. These are not the outcome of policy framework and its process but picked with the influence of popular notions created by environmental science and ecological concerns. Also, the raised global concern on healthy soil, food and nutrition is influencing the planned activities without commitment and continuation.

However, the insights from the cases of agroecology practices have more to say than the policies, program and budget. These practices are deeply rooted as the traditional practices and followed reflecting the experimental learning and reflection.

Here are some key insights from the review works;

These insights are derived by assigning the scores of criteria and indicators of agroecology principles, the general status of the policies, program and budget and the strength of selected cases. These are presented in the following diagram assigning weightage on criteria and indicator of agroecology principles.

Policy responses:
• Majority policies are guided by the conventional agriculture practices.
• Policies are not well informed by principles and practices rather token incorporation of highlighted actions and activities across the regional as well as global policy domain such as organic agriculture, climate resilience in agriculture

Budget and expenditure trends and patterns

• The overall program and budget are not guided by principles of program planning, evaluation and feedback mechanism.
• Focus are more on agriculture tools and techniques less on overall integration

There are different dimensions of on agroecology like culture and food traditions, human and social values, co-creation and sharing of knowledge, Recycling, Resilience, Efficiency, Synergies, Diversity, Enabling environment and Responsible government etc. Balance allocation of budget is essential for effectiveness of the program set. This shows that proper planning and study was not done during budget preparation and program settings.

Insights from cases

• Diverse, adaptive cases across the country
• Beyond the policy guidance and boundaries of program and budget
• Highly influenced by individual choice, experience and interests.
• Potential to draw wide range of lessons
• Cases followed principles and practices of agroecology are more sustainable, profitable and continued by farmers for long and farmers are also confident and committed.

5. Recommendations of the study

The policy goals of agriculture sector must be addressed properly and should strike a balance between ongoing agriculture practices and agroecology practices.
The federal government must give a clear policy and administrative framework to rural municipalities and municipalities as well as freedom to choose their priorities.
The criteria and guidelines to provide subsidies and supports, services and inputs should be reviewed.
Considering the contribution of agriculture sector to national economy and that majority of population deriving their employment and livelihood from agriculture, the government should give high priority and allocate more budgetary resources to agroecology both as a share of AGDP as well as annual national budget.
In specific, based on the reviews of policies, budget and field cases, we recommend;
• Policies should guide plans and programs towards sustainable agriculture. The policy formation must be informed by evidences, well-coordinated as well as need to avoid conflicts among policies of all layers and sectors.
• Programs and allocation of the budget must address the issues of small holder farmers and support to enable them to enhance production and productivity by providing appropriate technologies, inputs and extension services. These can be achieved by Allocating more budget to promote FYM to farmers, market promotion to organic products and its price premium etc.
• Best practice cases bring rays of hopes to the farmers. These cases should be shared, innovations should be replicated and strengthen farmers schools as the resource centre.
6. References

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