Nepal unlikely to become self-reliant in fish, meat and milk


The coronavirus pandemic is likely to adversely impact Nepal’s aim to become self reliant in fish, meat and milk.

Presenting a paper at the ongoing Second NRN Global Knowledge Convention organised by the Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRNA), Director at Livestock Department Banshi Sharma said, “Although Nepal was about to meet the target of becoming selfreliant in fish, meat and milk, the COVID-19 has badly impacted of late.”

The livestock sector has 13 per cent contribution in the country’s GDP, and 60 per cent of the farmers are involved in livestock in Nepal, he added.

Director Sharma further said, “Livestock has an important role in creating jobs and alleviating poverty. But the production and distribution of milk has been obstructed due to the pandemic.

Even the culture of eating fish has declined sharply.”

The use of fish, meat and milk had not gone up because of poverty, he argued. As the sale of milk was obstructed, it had to be changed into power.

He informed that the government was committed to eradicating foot-and-mouth disease, PPR and others in the livestock. If the federal, state and local level governments work in coordination, the livestock sector could thrive, thereby contributing to the national economy significantly, he opined.

Similarly, speakers putting forth their views in a session on ‘Agro products and marketisation’ of the ongoing convention said efforts were on to promote Nepal’s organic products in the international markets.

They also expressed worry over the increasing use of pesticides and antibiotics, saying it was harmful to organic farming. Industrialist Pavan Golyan shared that he had given priority to agriculture sector in recent days.

“Two-thirds of farmers are involved in agriculture. We reach the villages and teach them organic farming. Use of pesticides must be discouraged,” he added.

Industrialist Golyan further assured that he would buy the organic products if the farmers are not able to sell the products on their own. He further suggested that both the government and private sector join hands to boost marketing and invest in agro processing industries.

Providing necessary training to workers could be helpful to increase their skills and make them suitable for industry works.

Similarly, Executive Director of Nimbus Group Dinesh Gautam shared that his company had prioritised the export of agricultural products.

Rice, maize and wheat have contributed well to the GDP, he said, stressing the need of market, loan, transportation, store and insurance to boost agricultural products and related trade.

Moreover, Director of Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, Shanta Koirala, said her industry had given attention to linking smallholder farmers to production. The estate has been producing organic products since 2002. She urged the government to play the role of a facilitator to promote Nepali products in the international markets.

Feature image: File

A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.