Nepal spends 14 billion rupees to import potatoes and onions

The Emerald, Aug. 2: Nepal imported Rs. 14.53 billion in potatoes and onions in fiscal year 2021/22, according to annual statistics from the country’s customs department. Compared with the fiscal year 2020/21, imports have increased slightly.

Basu Dev Kar, director of the National Potato, Vegetable and Spice Crops Development Center, said Nepal has great production potential, but potato and onion imports remain high. Locally produced potatoes meet 90 percent of annual consumption, while domestically produced onions meet only 20 percent of demand. Until production is increased by encouraging farmers to produce onions commercially, it will be dependent on imports.

Most of the onions on the market are imported from India, with a very small amount coming from China. Therefore, the price of onions in the local market depends on their price in the Indian market. Local onion production has been increasing in the last few years. About 290,000 tons of onions are produced annually on about 20,400 hectares of land.

Director Karr says the government has been working on various programs in potential areas to increase productivity and production of potatoes. Quality seeds, irrigation and mechanization are necessary to increase the productivity of crops and vegetables.

Currently, lack of potato production technology and selection of quality seeds based on soil properties are major problems for potato development. Price fluctuations in major potato producing areas and regions also prevent farmers from commercial cultivation. The government will prioritize the development and expansion of potato production areas in potential regions, improve potato seed production and quality control systems in the private and public sectors, provide technical support for seed potato production and storage, and distribute extension materials to farmers and all growers to improve potato production technologies.

Source: Economic and Commercial Section, Embassy in Nepal

Post time: Aug-09-2022