Poverty Allevation Through Agriculture Development: Potentials and Constraints. a Case of Tomato Farming in Nepal

Background: Two third of Nepalese people (66.6 %) are involved in agriculture exploiting only 21% of cultivable land for their livelihood. Majority of the farm families are semi-literate or illiterate and scattered in rural settlements. An increase in population by 2.2% annually is producing additional labor force in the national labor market. Average size of land holding is small (0.5 ha) fragmented in scattered parcels of three thus limiting agriculture commercialization. Forty five percent of the farmers, having less than 0.5 ha, share only 13% of total land. Owing to modern sophistications and ever-increasing population, meeting people's increasing and changing needs and aspirations, on one hand, is a major burden to the country. On the other, crop profitability (particularly on cereals) is declining due to aforementioned agri-business related challenges. The consequence is over exploitation of natural and land resources. In Nepal, the process of planned economic development began in 1956. Until the fourth five-year plan period (1970 1975) the major strategy was to build economic and social infrastructures; some concrete achievements were made in that direction. The fifth five year plan (1975-1980) adopted a new approach to setting objectives, such as increasing the production of mass oriented goods, ensuring the maximum utilization of the workforce, and the promotion of regional balance and integration. Although a major portion of public sector expenditure was spent on transport, communications, electricity and industrial development, the country continued to rely on agricultural production. At present also the emphasis has been given on making a prosperous Nepal through bringing revolution and radical change in agriculture sector. For this government has been allocating huge portion of the total annual budget for agricultural sector development. Despite the priority given to agricultural sector and huge money doled out in


the sector for the last many...