21st Anniversary of NARC Celebrated in Nepal
The Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) celebrated its 21st Anniversary in Kathmandu on the 7th of May 2012. Chief Guest, Mr. Barsha Man Pun (Minister-designate and representative of Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Baburam Bhattarai), inaugurated the opening ceremony. Other Government authorities such as Dr. Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry (Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission, NPC), Mr. Nathu Prasad Chaudhary (Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, MoAC), and Dr. Dil Bahadur Gurung (Executive Director of NARC), were also among the high level officials attending the celebration. From CIMMYT-Nepal, G. Ortiz Ferrara (Country Liaison Officer), Arun K. Joshi (Head of Administration) and Nirmal Gadal (HMRP/CIMMYT Agronomist) were invited to attend. The gathering brought more than 275 scientists, development workers and other NARC scientists working in agriculture in Nepal. “The Nepal Government is planning to raise the budget for agriculture significantly in the upcoming national budget plan” Mr. Pun said. “There is also a need to adopt enhanced technology to double agricultural production and attract youth to the sector”, Pun added. He also mentioned that “the Prime Minister and his Government are committed on giving top priority to farming as it is the only way to alleviate poverty and ensure employment to a larger section of society”. Dr. Kshetry’s said that “in the next Government fiscal year, NARC and the MoAC have plans to deploy large number of agricultural scientists and technicians in all the 75 districts in the country to address farming and farmer’s problems”. Dr. Gurung highlighted that “the low seed replacement rate is one of the major factors affecting farm productivity and output. Similarly, around 70% of the farmland in the country is not irrigated and they depend on the mercy of the sky”. On behalf of CIMMYT’s Director General, the Management, and of all the CIMMYT colleagues who have worked in Nepal over the past 27 years, G. Ortiz Ferrara congratulated NARC on its anniversary and thanked the GoN for the strong partnership and for hosting the South Asia regional office in the country. He took the opportunity to brief the audience about the Nepal Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) concept discussed with the Management of NARC by Thomas Lumpkin during his recent visit to Nepal. “The strategic objective of BISA in Nepal is to enable NARC, CIMMYT and its partners to deliver greater impact toward the food security and livelihoods in the country” G. Ortiz Ferrara said. He also highlighted the strong endorsement given to the BISA in India by Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Man Mohan Singh and the GoI. In their closing remarks, Mr. Pun and Dr. Kshetry expressed Nepal’s Government strong interest and unconditional support for a BISA-Nepal. “Nepal is a poor country, but we have a good heart, we fully support this initiative” Dr. Gurung also said in his closing speech. NARC and CIMMYT-Nepal scientists are currently having strategic meetings to develop a proposal and a plan of action to make BISA-Nepal a reality.