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International conference on Food Sovereignty and Peasants Rights

PM K.P. Oli in the opening session of the conference. Photo: ©FAO/Field

Kathmandu-The three-day international conference on Food Sovereignty and Peasants Rights has concluded in the capital on Monday issuing a 16-point Kathmandu Declaration.

Addressing the opening session of the conference, PM K. P. Oli said that the government will encourage small farmers towards commercial farming through effective programmes and policies.  PM Oli expressed his commitment to introduce necessary policies and programmes to modernise the sector.

“As a majority of our population is engaged in the agriculture sector, it is crucial to modernise the country’s agricultural system in a bid to transform the country both economically and socially,” the prime minister said, adding that all stakeholders of the agriculture industry need to work together to modernise the agriculture sector and encourage the use of agricultural technologies to raise the production base of agriculture goods in the country.

Similarly, Prime Minister Oli also stressed on the need to promote agriculture cooperatives in the country which he believes will be beneficial for the farmers. “It is only through collective farming that the agriculture sector can grow in a sustainable manner,” he added.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also requested foreigners to invest in the agriculture sector including in vegetable and fruit farming, herbs and dairy production citing that these areas have tremendous investment opportunities.

According to Chitra Bahadur Shrestha, chairman of NFC, the three-day event had 15 working papers related to food sovereignty and as many as 350 participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Vietnam  participated in the event.

The conference, organised with the mission to promote the exchange of knowledge, expertise and national experience on farmers' issues, has demanded from the governments to establish powerful and executive constitutional commissions in various countries for protecting the rights of peasants, farmers and agricultural workers towards ensuring food sovereignty.   Likewise, the conference has demanded true implementation of agrarian reforms for ensuring right of the tillers, peasants and food producers in all the natural and productive resources. Similarly, it has demanded drafting and implementing the Peasants' Rights Act to ensure small and marginal farmer's rights. Land should be recognised as a productive resource and tillers of the land should be provided a chance to genuinely carry out farming, and the absentee landlordism should be discouraged, the statement read.

It has further called upon promoting cooperatives and collective models in agriculture production, processing and distribution so as to increase the production and productivity, improving the livelihood of the peasants.

Similarly, it has demanded promotion of organic agriculture, ensuring justice and equality for women and subsidy in production, processing and marketing of food by the small farmers. It has demanded a ban on MNCs and FDI in agriculture, asked for provisioning minimum support price for small farmer’s production and implementing ILO Convention in agriculture sector. It has also called for a pension scheme for the peasants based on their contribution. The event was supported also by FAO. (http://therisingnepal.org.np/news/29674; https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/commercialisation-key-to-drive-agriculture-sector-says-prime-minister-kp-sharma-oli/)