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Nepal

ISO: 
NPL
French: 
Népal
Spanish: 
Nepal
DMP_ID: 
77
ASTI-Country: 
1
Main Agency Acronym(s): 
NARC

Nepal: ASTI–NARC Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Gert-Jan Stads, Hari K. Shrestha, Hira K. Manandhar, and Lang Gao

Year:
2015

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Nepal Agricultural Research Council

Publication category

Asia and the Pacific

Related country page(s)
Nepal

Agricultural R&D investment and human resource capacity in Nepal grew in recent years in response to increased government funding; nevertheless, much more is needed to address the agricultural sector’s many critical challenges.        

NARC is by far the largest agency conducting agricultural R&D in Nepal, accounting for more than 80 percent of the country’s agricultural R&D investments and human resource capacity in 2012.      

Although Nepal’s share of female agricultural researchers increased from 9 percent in 2009 to 13 percent in 2012, women remain extremely underrepresented in agricultural R&D, especially considering they constitute more than 60 percent of the country’s agricultural workforce.  

Public Agricultural R&D in South Asia: Greater Government Commitment, Yet Underinvestment Persists

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Stads, Gert-Jan; Rahija, Michael

Year:
2012

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Publication category

Overview publications

Related publication(s)

Bangladesh: ASTI–BARC Country Note

New quantitative evidence presented in this report demonstrates that total public agricultural R&D spending in South Asia more than doubled between 1996 and 2009, while the number of agricultural researchers decreased by 6 percent. These trends were largely driven by India, which has the highest investment levels and strongest human resource capacity in agricultural research South Asia by far (both in terms of size and qualification levels), as well as the highest agricultural research spending intensity at 0.4 percent of AgGDP. Despite rapid increases in recent years, South Asia’s agricultural R&D spending is still very low compared with other developing regions around the world.

Compared with India, agricultural R&D in the four other South Asian countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) faces greater challenges. Relative investment levels are lower in these countries than in India and have shown greater year-to-year fluctuations, in many instances due to the instability of donor funding. Agricultural research staff in these countries is also significantly less-qualified than in India, the combined result of prolonged recruitment freezes, losses of highly qualified senior staff, limited training opportunities, and an aging population of researchers. In addition, political instability in some countries has either delayed or complicated much needed institutional and policy reforms.

The scientific competence of South Asia’s agricultural R&D agencies is high, particularly in India, but as in many developing regions of the world, stronger linkages are needed to connect agricultural research agencies and their staff with the end users of their research to improve the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of research outputs. Further efforts to strengthen subregional linkages are also needed in order to better utilize limited resources and reduce wasteful duplication. In addition, good governance is key to promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of research, and ongoing policy and institutional reform will be needed to further strengthen agricultural R&D and innovation in South Asia.

Nepal: ASTI–NARC Country Brief

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Stads, Gert-Jan; Shrestha, Hari K.

Year:
2006

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC)

Publication category

Asia and the Pacific

Related publication(s)

Nepal: ASTI–NARC Country Note

Related country page(s)
Nepal

Overall, agricultural researcher numbers in Nepal increased during 1996–2003, while the country’s agricultural R&D expenditures followed a more irregular trend. Nepal’s principal agricultural R&D agency, NARC, was highly dependent on the World Bank-financed project AREP, which ran from 1998 until 2002. The closure of this project led to a sharp fall in the council’s and the country’s agricultural R&D spending, prompting the Nepalese government to increase its funding to NARC. A distinctive feature of agricultural R&D in Nepal, compared with many other countries in the region, is the significant role of the nonprofit sector in agricultural research, which is funded entirely by foreign donors.

The agricultural sector has been identified by the Nepalese government as the primary engine for economic development. To this end, the government launched APP in 1995, a plan to accelerate annual agricultural production growth to about 5 percent during 1995–2015. Nevertheless, the country’s average agricultural production growth was only 3 percent per year during 1995–2003, identical to the growth rate a decade prior to the launch of APP (World Bank 2005). NARC anticipated increased funding from the government at the onset of APP, but, in reality, NARC’s share of the national budget has steadily fallen in recent years.

In addition to these financial challenges, certain institutional and security factors continue to hinder NARC in attracting and retaining qualified research staff. As of  December 2005, just 56 percent of the council’s available scientist positions were actually filled, mainly due to the fact that many scientists regard NGOs as much more attractive employers in terms of salaries. Most of NARC’s scientists are based in or near Kathmandu, limiting the ability to respond appropriately to the needs of farmers in the country’s more remote areas.

Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC)

Please note: this page contained older contact information for this agency. Please visit our new Agencies database

Nepal: ASTI–NARC Country Note

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Rahija, Michael; Shrestha, Hari K.; Stads, Gert-Jan

Year:
2011

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC)

Publication category

Asia and the Pacific

Related publication(s)

Nepal: ASTI–NARC Country Brief

Related country page(s)
Nepal

The 2002 completion of AREP, a World Bank–financed project, led to a sharp decline in Nepal’s agricultural R&D investment levels. Although spending rebounded somewhat during 2003–09, total agricultural R&D expenditures remain below the levels recorded around the turn of the millennium. In 2009, the country invested 520 million Nepalese rupees or 23 million PPP dollars in agricultural R&D (both in constant 2005 prices), or just 0.24 percent of its AgGDP that year. The country’s total number of agricultural researchers has also declined over time, largely due to the combined efect of a long-term hiring freeze and the loss of scientists seeking better opportunities abroad. Years of no recruitment have left NARC with a rapidly aging pool of scientists and numerous vacant positions.

Despite past and present challenges, the Government of Nepal recognizes the importance of agricultural R&D for the nation’s development, as highlighted in a number of important policy documents, but instability at the ministerial level continues to pose a major challenge. The government has prioritized agricultural R&D by committing to increase its contributions to NARC by 10 to 20 percent per year, and preliminary data indicate progress in this regard. In addition, NARC has recruited 70 BSc-level scientists since 2010, easing some of its acute capacity challenges. Training and mentoring of these newly recruited scientists will be a major priority in the coming years, as a signiicant proportion of NARC’s senior scientists are approaching retirement age.

Five years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, Nepal’s political climate remains fragile. Both MoAC and MOST lack the power, capacity, and continuity to set the country’s long-term agricultural R&D agenda and to ensure that suicient resources are available for research. The country needs to put efective and eicient policy implementing bodies and instruments for agricultural R&D in place if it is to succeed in enhancing smallholder production, cutting (rural) poverty, and competing in a global market.

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