The government has designated ‘pocket areas’ to pay special attention for potatoes, onions, lemon and other vegetables easily grown in the country but are imported in huge quantities from India and China. But production in the pocket areas have not really gone up.
Proof that protecting domestic farmers works is the case of Nepal’s goats. In mid-March 2019, the government tightened procedures involving the quarantine of imported livestock as per the Animal Health and Livestock Service Rules of 2000, resulting in a fall in import of goats from India.
Despite this leading to fears of a shortage in the market and increased prices, the domestic livestock industry managed to sustain the demand for goats, saving the country Rs3 billion. The move also boosted the domestic livestock industry, raising household income and creating jobs.
Meanwhile, Nepal imported Rs 2.7 billion worth of just onions last year. Rs460 million worth of lemon was imported from India. There is no conceivable reason why Nepal should be importing potatoes, but domestic production just does not meet demand.
Nepal’s future normal, Anil Chitrakar
Change, don’t just adapt to COVID-19, Bishal Thapa