Nepal: Farmers oppose government’s land bank law

All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa) has objected and expressed reservations against the Nepal government’s new land bank policy.

The Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation is preparing a framework for implementation of Land Bank Act. The framework has mentioned that all kinds of lands can be used for plotting.

All Nepal Peasants’ Federation, one of the prominent organization of smallholder farmers, says the decision was made to give advantages to land mafia and middlemen. The organization’s coordinator Hari Parajuli and deputy coordinator Chitra Bahadur Shrestha, issued a joint statement and said, “The federation, along with all patriotic Nepali farmers, is sad and agitated because of the decision.”

The ANPFa has demanded that the government immediately cancel the decision and formulate and implement new land laws as per the principles of scientific land reform.

Hari Parajuli, the coordinator of the federation, said that the law puts small farmers at a disadvantage. “With this law, the government has now paved the way for plotting of fertile land that is going to reduce agriculture resources in the country,” he said.

He urged the ruling party to remember their promise of making the country self-reliant on agro-products within five years during the local elections. “But allowing plotting of agricultural land is against their earlier pledge,” he said, adding, “This law will, in fact, promote land use for the non-agriculture purpose.”

He further stressed that the land bank law is not beneficial for farmers and more favourable for industrial purpose. As Nepal has a large number of smallholder farmers, the land bank law will demotivate them, he added.

In 2017, the Nepal government had introduced the suspension on land plot splitting arguing it was necessary to protect the arable land from splitting into smaller land plots for construction.
Earlier last week, the Nepal government decided to end the three-year suspension citing ‘practical problems’ of the people and a directive by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

Below is the English translation of the press release

Press Release by All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa)

Kathmandu, September 8

The ministerial decision on September 3, 2020, by the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Government of Nepal, which resumed the work of subdividing agricultural land has drawn the serious attention of the All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa). For a long time, the Nepalese government has enacted a land-use act to classify the country’s entire land and make scientific use of it for the highest returns. Still, at this time of implementing the necessary land-use policies, the government has reversed the previous decision, restoring agricultural land allocation. This decision has made All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANFPa), the leading Nepali peasant organization, and all the patriotic Nepalese farmers throughout the country sad and furious.

The Federal Democratic Republic was established in the country through the massive sacrifices and sacrificial struggle of Nepal’s people. Our country’s people, where two-thirds of the population constitute peasants, have struggled to write their own Constitution from the Constituent Assembly successfully. And provided an unprecedented opportunity and mandate to form a two-third majority government to the Nepal communist party with high hope that it will lead and implement the Constitution in its real spirits. Immediately after its formation, the present government proudly announced its aim to make the country self-sufficient in food production within two years and reach the level of food exports within five years. On the contrary, the decision to demarcate agricultural land would divide Nepal’s agricultural land. It will create conditions for non-agricultural use and make farmland a commodity, forcing poor farmers to sell their land cheaply, feed the land mafia and brokers, and will lead Nepal to a food crisis. The decision comes at a time when the announcement of controversial neo-liberal programs such as the Land Bank raises questions about the government’s sincerity in Nepal’s Constitution regarding scientific land reform, which has challenged the right to food sovereignty enshrined in the Land Use Act and Constitution.

Therefore, as the country’s largest peasant’s organization, we strongly demand the immediate cessation of the allocation and fragmentation of agricultural land and the immediate implementation of the Scientific Land Use Act by issuing as soon as possible the necessary regulations and directives on scientific land utilization. We warn the Nepalese government not to repeat these anti-farmer actions.