Kathmandu, December 31

The Ministry of Forest and Environment has started collecting geographical data and information on a massive scale to promote production of medicinal herbs.

The ministry plans to identify potential areas for herbs production and declare and develop them as ‘pocket areas’ for commercial cultivation. The ministry will promote cultivation, harvesting, storing, processing, production and marketing of herbs.

According to Minister of Forest and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet, ‘forest for prosperity’ campaign is about to kick off immediately for the development of forest enterprises.

The 250 million USD programme will be implemented to make the campaign successful. Under the programme, farmers and cooperatives will be given grants to promote forest based enterprises.

Significant number of foreign tourists in Nepal visit protected areas. As the government is preparing to celebrate Visit Nepal Year-2020, the ministry plans to focus on infrastructure development to promote jungle safari.

A programme worth Rs 70 million will be launched to develop physical infrastructure and zoological gardens will be built to prevent human-wildlife conflict and for conservation of wildlife, contributing to the reduce cases of wildlife poaching.

Works have already been started in regard with the detailed project report for the establishment of a zoological garden in forest area in Suryabinayak forest area of Bhaktapur. Such zoological gardens will be created in all seven provinces and some of the local levels too.

Infrastructure development work will be intensified targeting those protected areas where tourists flow is high, according to a source at the ministry.

Chitwan National Park, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Base Camp and Langtang National Park have been witnessing increased flow of tourists of late.

Infrastructure development project will include Rara, Khaptad, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Shuklaphanta areas.

Nepal is inching closer to its goal of doubling the number of tigers by 2020. As claimed by the government, rhino poaching has been brought down to zero.

“Nepal feels proud to share its accomplishment in the conservation of wildlife with the international community,” the minister said. He is concerned about global warming and its effects in Nepal, which has just 0.027 per cent contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions.  However, the country bears the brunt of greenhouse effect.