Public Private Dialogue on Enhancing Export Competitiveness of Honey
South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment, in collaboration with German Cooperation for Development (GIZ) organized a Public Private Dialogue (PPD) on enhancing export competitiveness of honey on 23 December 2014. The programme was attended by more than 40 participants representing the government, private sector and media. The objective of the event was to identify and address export-related barriers facing the Nepali beekeeping sector. The dialogue discussed various barriers prevalent in the sector and came up a comprehensive action plan to address them.
In the introductory session, Dr. Hiramani Ghimire, Executive Director, SAWTEE acknowledged the socio-economic importance of honey and its contribution in poverty reduction in Nepal. He stressed on the importance of dialogue between the private and public sectors to discuss challenges facing the sector and to come up with workable solutions to address them.
Dr. Peter Ritcher, Chief Technical Advisor, GIZ, Trade Promotion Programme (TPP) gave a brief highlight of the role of GIZ in supporting Nepal’s development. He mentioned that at present GIZ is working with the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies in supporting select products included in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) and mentioned that the areas of support included overcoming supply side constraints, strengthening value chains and developing capacity of the MoCS to address trade-related barriers in some of the NTIS products. He also mentioned that GIZ is planning to extend support in some additional sectors, including some service sectors, in a near future.
The session also included a presentation on honey sector by Dr. Posh Raj Pandey, Chairman, SAWTEE who presented findings of a research study on Nepali honey sector carried out by SAWTEE with support from GIZ TPP.He highlighted Nepali honey export has been declining steadily and pointed out that the dearth in quantity of production and lack of quality assurance mechanism have been the primary reasons behind this fall in export.
The session concluded with remarks from Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister who congratulated SAWTEE on a comprehensive and informative research on honey. He emphasized on the need for coherent market driven economic policies for development of Nepal. He also stressed on the need for standardization in the honey sector for improving its trade performance and assured the forum to extend necessary support to formulate a comprehensive beekeeping policy to govern the sector.
The introductory session was followed by a thematic session which discussed the findings of the study. Mr. Toya Narayan Gyawali, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies remarked that the study report to be published by SAWTEE will prove to be an important document of reference for the Government of Nepal with regards to honey sector. He also commented that the success of developing economies like Ethiopia, Zambia and Vietnam in exporting large quantities of honey showed that Nepal too can successfully produce larger quantities of honey and export it to international markets. He further stressed on the need to conduct a study on domestic consumption of honey in Nepal. Mr. Gyawali also stated the crucial importance of coordination within various government agencies in dealing with various non-tariff measures and to promote the sector as a whole.
Mr. Jagadish Bhakta Shrestha, Programme Director, Directorate of Industrial Entomology Development (DoIED), Ministry of Agriculture Development accepted that Nepalese honey industry has failed to realize its enormous potential in terms of both production and export. He also noted various positive externalities of promoting beekeeping including poverty reduction, cross-pollination and consequent increase in agricultural productivity. He informed the participants that the Nepal Beekeeping Policy will be finalised soon with Ministry of Agriculture Development and the DoIED taking the lead. He further notified the participants that the Directorate is currently implementing a youth-oriented beekeeping promotion campaign in 35 districts across Nepal.
Speaking on behalf of the private sector, Mr. Dharma Raj Shrestha, Chairperson of Central Honey Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal stressed on the importance of promoting Apis Mellifera bees for increasing the production of honey in Nepal given their high production potential. He pointed out that Nepal lagged behind its competitors in terms of quantity, quality and price of honey and emphasized the need for promoting commercial farming besides subsistence farming.
The third session included identification on trade barriers and preparation of action plan to remove these barriers. Mr. Gopal Prasad Tiwari, Coordinator, Nepal Business Forum (NBF) introduced the participants on the working mechanisms of the NBF. The participants were then divided into groups and came up with presentable action plan for tackling issues related to quality infrastructure, policy barriers and trade promotion barriers.