Stakeholders seek foreign investment in agro-forestry

Kathmandu, March 3

Domestic stakeholders have urged foreign investors to invest in agriculture and forestry sector of the country.

Speaking in one of the sessions of the Nepal Investment Summit, which concluded in the Capital today, Minister for Commerce Romi Gauchan Thakali said that there is wide scope for investment in agro-forestry sector of Nepal as the country is an agricultural nation and is also rich in various species of flora and fauna.

"However, the contribution of agro-forestry sector in Nepal's economic growth is comparatively lower. This denotes that the sector has immense potential to grow and it offers lucrative business opportunities," Thakali said.

According to him, investors have comparatively larger benefit in this sector due to the availability of large amount of agriculture and forest resources in Nepal. "Moreover, our strategic location could also be beneficial for investors as India and China could be huge markets for agriculture and forestry products manufactured in Nepal," added Thakali.

Ananda Bagaria, managing director of Nimbus, said that Nepal's agro-business scenario has improved in recent years with the government promoting agro products, agriculture commercialisation and modernisation.

He also said that Nepal has wide potential for the production of high-value crops and different herbal products. "As both agriculture and forestry are yet to be explored fully in Nepal, this certainly leaves investment opportunities for foreign investors in this sector," Bagaria said.

Similarly, Neeraj Rathi, managing director of Rakura Tea, said that Nepali agro products have been less competitive in the market due to lack of proper branding, packaging and marketing. "If investors properly focus on these elements, Nepali products have high export potential in the global market," Rathi said.

Shekhar Golchha, director of Golchha Organisation, said that Nepal has been developing investment-friendly climate in recent years, which is encouraging for potential investors. "While the constitution has prioritised free-market economy, all political parties have also developed consensus on economic agenda and development. These factors will encourage investors to come to Nepal."

On the occasion, Bimala Rai Poudyal, former member of National Planning Commission (NPC), said that foreign investors will have the benefit of Nepal's geographical location and human resources while investing in the country.