Beekeepers threaten stir if honey delisted from NTIS

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Beekeepers threaten stir if honey delisted from NTIS

Jan 4, 2015-

The Nepal Beekeepers Central Cooperative Union warned Sunday that it would agitate if honey was delisted from the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) that has identified it as one of the promising export products.

Union President Arjun Pokharel criticized the government’s plan to exclude Nepali honey from the NTIS instead of promoting it. “This will hit beekeeping and the entire honey business.”

The government is considering removing honey from the NTIS due to its poor export performance in the past five years since the plan was launched.

The Ministry of Commerce and Supply is currently revising the list of exportable goods under the NTIS.

Beekeepers have blamed lack of support from the government for the dismal state of honey exports. They claimed that there was rising demand for Nepali honey

both within and outside the country resulting in its being commercialised, and that the government’s move was inappropriate.

Pokharel said that the export figures released by the government were wrong and that actual shipments were higher. According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Nepal exported honey worth Rs 390,000 during the first four months of the current fiscal year. Exports amounted to a paltry Rs 176,000 during the whole of the last fiscal year.

Non-tariff barriers such as quality standards are the main obstacles to Nepal’s honey exports. Pokharel urged the government to establish a testing

laboratory of international standard in the country to promote exports.

Ganesh Bahadur Basnet, past president of the union, said that honey exports had been going downhill due to backward technology, lack of an internationally recognised laboratory and the government’s indifference to promoting the sector. The entrepreneurs have threatened to launch a protest which would include picketing Singha Durbar, the main administrative centre of the government.

According to the beekeepers’ association, there are 98 cooperatives with 130,000 beehives producing honey in 30 districts across the country.

About 4,000 farmers are directly engaged in honey production, while 4,500 households and more than 10,000 people are involved in this occupation.

Nepal produces an estimated 1,600 tonnes of honey annually. According to the union, the country has the potential to produce 10,000 tonnes of honey and export products worth Rs 2 billion annually.

Published: 05-01-2015 09:29

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