Updated on 22 April 2013
To support the growth of the agriculture sector in Nepal, the National Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Nepal's premier agriculture agency under the ministry of agriculture, has opened 57 offices across the nation including a Kathmandu-based headquarter. NARC has the mandate to take care of research and policy in the areas of plants, fisheries and animals. Apart from that, the country also has two National Agricultural Research Institutes and a large number of research stations spread across the country.
NARC is trying to overcome the challenges in commercialization of agriculture through focused research and has established the National Commercial Agricultural Research Programme (NCARP) in Agriculture Research Station at Pakhribas. The objectives of the program are to increase productivity of selected commercial commodities from five-to- 15 percent by 2015; to provide need based quality service in cost basis; and to conduct research on actual cost basis. In absence of enough funding for procuring cutting edge technologies, the Nepalese scientists who seem to have proved the proverb 'Necessity is the mother of invention' right, have been inventing their own conventional means to do research. The lack of enough electricity has also led the scientists to devise their own plans to tackle the problem.
Inspite of many challenges, the promising technologies generated through agricultural research by the local scientists have played a pivotal role in increasing productivity of rice, which is Nepal's most important food crop. Nepal has released fifty five (55) rice varieties with full package of growing practices in the last 40 years. The coverage by improved varieties is 85 percent of the total rice cultivated land.
Nepal is also a part of Global Cereal Rust Monitoring System (GCRMS) and the United Nations- Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO). In its current form, the GCRMS integrates and disseminates up-to-date information on stem rust incidence and severity, as well as races. In last few years, the number of countries working under GCRMS increased from 15 in 2009-to-20 by 2011. On a same pattern, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) toolbox has been created, of which Nepal is a member.
Despite the prevailing political instability in Nepal, the researchers in the country have not given up hope. As Dr Baidya Nath Mahto, chief scientist at Khumaltar Research station of (NARC), says, "We may have limited funding and resources but yet our morale is always high. We know that we have to catch up with lot many things but we will overcome difficulties one day."