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Public Private Dialogue on Enhancing Export Competitiveness of MAPs and Essential Oils

SAWTEE organized a half day Public-Private Dialogue on “A Public Private Dialogue on Enhancing Export Competitiveness of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants  (MAPs) and Essential Oils” on 27 May, 2014. The programme was attended by more than 40 participants representing the government, private sector, national chambers of commerce, and non-governmental organizations. The main objective of the dialogue was to present the findings of the study on “Realizing the Export Potential of MAPs and Essential Oils: Overcoming the Trade Barriers”.

In the inaugural session, Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), pointed out the need of technical and financial support to promote MAPs and Essential oils. Similarly, Mr. Toya Narayan Gyawali, Joint Secretary at MoCS, mentioned that Trade Policy 2009 is in process of being revised and therefore, discussions in the programme should provide important pointers while devising mechanisms to promote exports of MAPs. He also mentioned that the Enhanced Integration Framework (EIF) is ready to provide resources for the development of MAPs and essential oils. Dr. Peter Ritcher, Chief Technical Advisor of the Trade Promotion Programme stated that Nepal lacked adequate physical, legal and institutional infrastructures for promotion of trade.

The inaugural session was followed by presentation of the study by Dr. Posh Raj Pandey, Executive Chairman of SAWTEE. Dr. Pandey underlined the contribution of MAPs and essential oils to Nepalese economy, and provided an overview of policy framework supporting MAPs and essential oils in Nepal. He also identified major possible markets for exporting MAPs and essential oils and most importantly, discussed on various policy hurdles as well as prevailing barriers to production, transportation and export of the products.

Following the presentation, Mr Govinda Ghimire, President of Nepal Herbs and Herbal Products Association (NEHHPA) commented that incentive system for firms practising GAP, GCP and GMP was crucial in promoting sustainable MAPs cultivation and processing. Similarly, Mr Krishna Prasad Acharya, Joint Secretary at MoFSC requested private sector to provide government with concrete and feasible demands for quick and effective implementation. He also emphasised the need to develop a code of conduct among the private sector for promotion of competitive, fair and sustainable cultivation, collection and harvesting practices.

Mr Jib Raj Koirala, Joint Secretary at MoCS, highlighted the significance of value addition and product development in the sector. He further stressed the need to conduct a Geographical Information Services (GIS) Mapping of MAPs for protection and planning purposes. Mr Yam Bahadur Thapa, Director General of Department of Plant Resources (DPR) stated the need for capacity development of human resource at the DPR laboratories.

In the second session, under the moderation of Mr Purushottam Ojha, former secretary of MoCS, participants were divided into three groups to identify the most pertinent issues obstructing export enhancement of MAPs and essential oils and put forward recommendations for their removal. The participants came up with a range of recommendations on various issues broadly divided into three categories viz. Quality Control, Certification and Organic Certification; Transportation and Storage; and Legislative and Coordination related issues.