Program to boost production, export of herbs, essential oils
KATHMANDU, Dec 8: The government is preparing to launch a program worth Rs 330 million to promote the production and export of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAP) as part of its drive to commercialize medicinal herbs under the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) -- trade promotion road map of the government.
The program has already been finalized and will come into implementation as soon as the Project Implementation Steering Committee, which is headed by the chief secretary, gives its nod, said Toya Narayan Gyawali, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS).
Under the program, the government targets to enhance the production of medicinal herbs by 15 percent, thereby increasing income of farmers, of which one-third would be women, poor and indigenous people.
While MoCS would provide logistics support to the farmers in around 10 districts possessing huge potential to produce MAP in the mid-western and far-western regions, German aid agency GIZ and Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) too have already expressed their commitment to provide 174,000 euros and three million euros respectively to implement the three-year program.
“We will sign the final assistance agreement with them as soon as the steering committee gives its nod,” Gyawali told Republica, adding that the total cost of the program will hover around 3.3 million euros. It will be spent for promoting production and exports of essential oils through commercialization of medicinal herbs in the two regions.
Under the program, Gyawali said the government will launch 36 different activities that will focus on collection and processing of medicinal herbs without harming the environment. “Together these initiatives will enhance export of essential oils,” he stated.
The government in consultation with the private sector and farmers has identified around one dozen medicinal herbs for commercial production to enhance the capacity of the country to produce and export essential oils.
Gyawali said the program will train farmers, domesticate and commercialize wild medicinal herbs, control quality standard, encourage private sector to farm, process and distribute medicinal herbs in commercial scale, and expand domestic as well as international markets through necessary branding of the essential oil products.
Data of Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC) show that export of essential oils, which is one of the 19 NTIS-listed high-potential exportable items, stood at meager Rs 76.885 million during 2011/12.
During the same year, export of medicinal herbs, another NTIS-listed product, was valued at Rs 805.37 million during the year 2011/12.
The government has recently approved an action plan targeting to increase individual exports of all 19 products (12 goods and seven services) selected under NTIS to one billion rupees each every year.
Out of the 12 goods selected in NTIS, annual export of ginger, essential oils, medicinal herbs, noodles, hand-made papers and sliver jewelries stand below one billion rupees.