India has agreed to support Nepal in implementing organic farming and soil health cards.
The soil health card, which is widely implemented in India, is particularly a crop-wise recommendation of nutrients and fertilisers required for farms, so that farmers can use inputs accordingly and raise the productivity. The plan was announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in the first week of August.
The 5th Joint Agriculture Working Group meeting held here on Wednesday formally included this agenda among the areas of cooperation in agriculture between Nepal and India, said Shankar Sapkota, co-spokesperson for the Ministry of Agricultural Development.
Both the sides agreed to renew the memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of agriculture until December 2021. Other agendas were covering agricultural development such as expansion of micro-irrigation systems, seed technologies, agricultural mechanization and strengthening quarantine and laboratory facilities, including establishment of mirror laboratories at five border points (Kakadvitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, and Nepalgunj).
The two sides also discussed regular supply of indigenous chemical fertilisers, climate change impacts, accreditation of laboratories, formation of communication mechanism regarding sanitary and phytosanitary measures, mutual cooperation on agricultural research and germplasm exchange, establishment of deemed university under Nepal Agricultural Research Council and human resource development.The two governments decided to draft a work plan and prepare detailed project proposals by July 2015 and implement over a period of five years, said Sapkota. The meeting was convened following the direction of Nepal-India Joint Commission held in Kathmandu on July 2014.
Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Rajendra Prasad Adhikari led the Nepali team, while the Indian delegation was led by I Rani Kumudini, joint secretary of India’s Ministry of Agriculture.
The sixth meeting is scheduled to be held in India in October 2015.