Unlocking clean green economic development in Nepal

Friday, 14 February, 2020

Senior parliamentarians and business leaders from Nepal have visited South Australia at the invitation of Australia’s Ambassador to Nepal, to explore opportunities in agriculture with a focus on water as an enabler to new agribusiness and the adoption of Australian quality assurance standards.

Combined with a stable government, Nepal’s private sector companies are seeking investment opportunities in agriculture and food production. South Australia has a wide variety of world leading companies producing and processing clean green premium products for local and global markets. With support from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), this sector has seen a significant increase in sales and international recognition for its quality foods.

In collaboration with PIRSA, ICE WaRM facilitated an intensive 5 day programme designed to observe and discuss with business leaders the whole supply chain including production, processing, cold storage and distribution to retail marketing. The programme included briefings on biosecurity, meetings with key industry experts and researchers and site visits to successful farming enterprises providing an insight into intensive greenhouse farming practices and technology. Participants also met with former minister for water security, Hon Karlene Maywald who is herself a grape grower and irrigator.

Over the last 25 years, South Australia has developed nationally significant industry bases within the state, including over 40% of Australia’s pig and poultry as well as major redevelopment of its irrigated horticulture and viticulture (producing over 60% of Australia’s wine).

In a visit by the Australian Ambassador to Nepal, HE Pete Budd in 2019, the Ambassador highlighted Nepal’s interest in investing in these sectors and recognised South Australia as a world leader in agricultural research, water management, horticulture and viticulture. This provides an opportunity to export Australian expertise to support Nepal’s ambitious national development agenda and to foster agricultural business development in Nepal to Australian standards.

The demand for clean, green, quality produce is a high priority for the people of Nepal who are choosing organic, home grown produce and favour sustainable practices.

Living a healthy lifestyle is important to Mr Dipesh Kunwar, a successful businessman from Nepal who participated in the programme, who expresses a keen interest in business opportunities that support organic farming.

“I am extremely pleased to learn from Australia’s experience and with this approach and supporting environments, I can see an opportunity for ecotourism in Nepal encompassing world class practices”, said Mr Kunwar.

Apple farming and value add products such as ciders and vinegars, were of significant interest to the group who visited the Lenswood Cold Storage Cooperative in the Adelaide Hills responsible for 70 per cent of the state’s apple crop on 1,500 hectares of prime agricultural land.

The Australian Government’s current Aid Investment Plan Nepal 2016-2020 focuses on ensuring that Nepal continues to develop as a secure, stable and prosperous partner in the Indo-Pacific region. As Nepal’s economy grows, two-way trade and investment, including in services, is also expected to grow.

This programme has been encouraged by the Australian Ambassador to Nepal and is an extension of the work ICE WaRM has been doing into the nexus between water, energy and food/agriculture as part of the Australian Government’s Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio.

 

Footnotes:

Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), funded by the Department for Foreign affairs and Trade, is a South Asia regional programme with Australian and international partners supporting improved livelihoods and economic development.

PIRSA is a key economic development agency in the Government of South Australia, with responsibility for the prosperity of the state’s primary industries and regions.

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