PRI and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Agree to Collaborate on Policy Research
November 25, 2021
On 25 November 2021, Policy Research Institute held a meeting with Secretaries, Joint-Secretaries and agricultural economists from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD). Organised at the Office of PRI, Sano Gaucharan, the aim of the meeting was to explore ways to enhance collaboration between the Ministry and PRI in relation to effective policymaking and implementation.
Dr Bishnu Raj Upreti, the Executive Chairperson of PRI, welcomed the dignitaries from the Ministry to the meeting, briefly introduced PRI’s objectives and priorities to them and opened the discussion seeking ideas and suggestion on how PRI and the Ministry can work together to contribute to policy innovation.
Dr Gobinda Prasad Sharma, Secretary (Agricultural Development) and Ms Niru Dahal Pande, Secretary (Livestock Development) of MoALD thanked PRI for hosting the meeting and said that the Ministry is committed to working with PRI on evidence-based policymaking. Dr Sharma also thanked PRI for the comments on the Agricultural Policy (2077). He said the comments are relevant and will be responded to accordingly.
In the discussion that followed, a number of procedural and thematic issues were identified by both PRI and the Ministry. The collaboration between the two will proceed taking these issues into account.
During the meeting, PRI suggested the following:
- PRI is ready and willing to support the MoALD in all areas of policy issues.
- The agricultural sector is both comprehensive and complex. It is connected to a number of issues being dealt with by other ministries. Farmers, banks and financial institutions and the private sector are also closely associated with it. To effectively deal with the agricultural sector, which the MoALD is responsible for, there is a need for an umbrella policy. Such a policy should be developed in participation of all concerned stakeholders and based on the experience of what has worked and what has not. PRI is ready to assist the MoALD in this respect.
- The existing inter-ministerial coordination mechanism should be overhauled for the effective implementation of the agricultural policy
- In the federal set-up that we are now, the government of all levels (local, provincial and federal) should own and internalise the agricultural policy for it to deliver.
- The rationale to establish a deemed university under the Nepal Agricultural Research Council is not clear. The existing Agriculture and Forestry University can be upgraded and given the responsibility the deemed university is supposed to deliver. There is no need for a separate institution to do the same work. This will only create overlaps and institutional paralysis.
- The MoALD should take guardianship of all agricultural universities, research centres and extension services, and play a role to let them grow as centres of excellence in their own right
- PRI has, through a consultative process, drafted the ‘Fundamental Guidelines to Public Policymaking (2078).’ It presents step-wise policy drafting procedures. The MoALD can use it as a reference while drafting policies.
In response to PRI’s ideas and suggestions, the MoALD made the following remarks.
- It is a good suggestion that all the stakeholder concerned should be consulted in drafting an umbrella (comprehensive) policy. This is a right way. To ensure the buy-in and deliverability of the policy too such consultation is necessary. However, the same degree and depth of participation may not be required for sectoral and thematic policies.
- As regards the deemed university, only a proposal has been floated. It has not been comprehensively reviewed and assessed. If the Agriculture and Forestry University has the potential to deliver the expectation of the deemed university, it is advisable to build AFU’s capacity and entrust additional responsibilities.
- MoALD has been fulfilling its leadership role as regards its oversight of agricultural institutions under it. However, over the years, it has been facing the shortage of staff resulting in the slackness in this area.
- MoALD too has felt the need for an umbrella agricultural policy. We will soon initiate the process to draft the policy in close collaboration with PRI.
Present in the interaction from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development were Dr Gobinda Prasad Sharma, Secretary (Agriculture Development); Ms Niru Dahal Pande, Secretary (Livestock Development); Dr Rajendra Prasad Misra, Joint Secretary; Mr Prakash Kumar Sanjel, Joint Secretary, Dr Pradeep Chandra Bhattarai, Chief, Policy Section; Ms Srijana Timilsina, Agri Economist; and, Mr Bikas Poudel, Agri Economist. From PRI were Dr. Bishnu Raj Upreti, Chairperson; Dr. Deepak Kumar Khadka, Head of Research Department; Dr. Hari Sharma Neupane, Senior Research Fellow (Political and Social Affairs); Mr Laxman Bhattarai, Office Manager; and Dr. Mukunda Raj Kattel, Head of Information and Knowledge Management Department.