Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), the sole research agency for the agriculture sector in the country, has been facing an acute shortage of agriculture scientists, thanks to the growing trends of leaving the country among scientists for lucrative opportunities abroad. According to the NARC officials, the research institute has 243 scientists working now while the approved quota is 411. Similarly, it has a quota for 410 employees under technician category.
The NARC data revealed that more than four dozen agriculture scientists have left Nepal for better opportunities since 2008.
Officials said, brain drain is the main cause behind the shortage. Also the trend not to return to the country after completion of study abroad on government scholarships also boosts the shortage. NARC had already taken action against 12 scientists who failed to return after studying on such schemes.
According to NARC, it only has 10 scientists working in paddy, seven in wheat, eight in maize, four in pulses, and five in edible oil, whereas more than 1,000 scientists are working in paddy in India. About 100 scientists have been working in paddy research in Bangladesh.
Increase in salary and other incentives can lure scientists to work for the NARC, they said, adding, otherwise the agency will run for no benefits.