Fair to promote domestic herbs

Kathmandu, November 8:

First Nepal Herbs and Herbal Products Trade Fair is being organised in Nepalgunj from November 12 to 14 to promote domestic herbs and trade of herbal products.

The fair is a fresh attempt to raise awareness among people to preserve herbs and to showcase latest development in herbal production as well as to promote trade in the long run.

The two-day long event is organised by Nepal Herbs and Herbal Products Association (NEHHPA) with the help of Export Promotion Committee (EPC) and Herbs and Non-Timber Forest Products Coordination Committee (HNTFPC). Though Nepal is considered to be one of the richest countries for the biodiversity, it lacks proper mechanism on research and development as well as conservation.

Nepal is blessed with a unique topographical status and its rich biodiversity is home for some of the world’s most endangered herb species. However, it has not been able to reap benefits out its huge resources.

“Due to lack of proper research, adequate publicity and effective conservation measures, those endangered herb species are gradually coming to extinct,” said Madhukar Thapa, general secretary of NEHHPA.

He also informed that the Nepali raw and semi-processed herbs, perfume herbal oil and spices are in high demand in the international market. “We have not been able to meet the ever increasing demand,” Thapa said, adding that joint efforts are needed to promote trade of herbs in the international market. “Effective conservation measures and research in the domestic front is yet another challenge,” he added.

Dr Hari Krishna Sainju of HNTFPC laid emphasis on developing farming culture of herbs instead of going to forests in search of herbs.

He also informed that 12 different species of herbs are being conserved by cultivating them in commercially.

According to the statistics, global trade of herbs is estimated at $420 million, whereas Nepal’s share is less than one per cent. Though Nepal produces about 40 metric tonnes of herbs and peripheral products from 188 different species annually, share of herbs in total exports is very nominal.

According to Nepal Overseas Trade Statistics Report, Nepal exported various herbs and herbal products worth Rs 1.08 billion to India in 2003-04, and third country export stood at Rs 306.33 million only.

Importers from India, Ban-gladesh and Pakistan will also be taking part in the event.

Chiraito, Jatamasi, Kurilo, Kutaki, Timmur, Rittha, Silajit, Lauth salla, Lokta, Argelli and bay leaf are the major herbs being exported from Nepal.