Exploring how Nepal’s new federal system is impacting on agricultural systems

Nepal is in a transition phase as the new federal system is implemented. This period of change means translating the newly enshrined constitutional right to food and food sovereignty into effectively operating systems. In the Foresight component, the Centre for Green Economic Development (CGED) have led recent work on understanding the wider food system in the Nepal Terai, and exploring the current situation for agriculture under the new federal structure. They found a multitude of policies and plans that relate to agricultural development at all levels, but challenges in coordination and implementation. Discussions with local municipal and provincial staff and community members reveal a lack of staff to fill assigned positions in various government offices, a lack of subject matter specialists, and low budgetary spending despite allocations. These initial constraints can be seen as areas of potential risk that must be managed to allow the implementation to unfold effectively.

In mid July, CGED organized a peer learning workshop for twenty participants to share results and experiences from their work and others, including the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) who have summarized the situation for the water sector, and the Department of Agriculture (DoA) who gave an analysis of impacts on the extension system.

The following day a high level policy dialogue was conducted that attracted over 50 participants including policy makers from federal and provincial government levels, and other relevant organisations. The objective was to present the evidence and ideas from the initial work, and to get feedback on priority areas for research and support within the new system.

Key themes that emerged included the lack of mechanisms that exist for coordination and collaboration, both vertical and horizontal. Policy dialogue was recommended to include local governments to demonstrate promising techniques and ensure informed decision making. Another important area was the need to link the new Agricultural Knowledge Centres (AKC) with research and other knowledge sources. The importance of building human resource capacity across all parts of the system was highlighted.

In the next phase of Foresight work in Nepal, the team from CGED together with the DoA and IWMI will use foresight approaches as a dialogue tool to identify preferred pathways towards a resilient food system, through identifying synergies between the different levels of government who are responsible for delivery of agricultural services. This project will incorporate recommendations from the peer learning workshop and science policy dialogue, to align with identified priorities.

For more information, please contact Tamara Jackson (tajackson@csu.edu.au).

Ms Satya Pahadi, Member of Legislative Parliament and Member of Finance Committee, addresses the meeting to communicate priority areas of research and coordination required under Nepal's new federal system.

Ms Satya Pahadi, Member of Legislative Parliament and Member of Finance Committee, addresses the meeting to communicate priority areas of research and coordination required under Nepal's new federal system.

NewsTamara Jackson