Friday, November 23, 2012

Lack of policy implementation hits honey promotion

Due to the lack of policy implementation, synergy among development partners helping honey producers, coupled with low consumption in the domestic market has hurt the honey market chain, said experts during an interaction on 'Honey value chain', organised by the Directorate of Commercial Entomology Development, Department of Agriculture, and Ministry of Agriculture Development, in support with the Ministry of Industry, and Micro-enterprise Development Programme under UNDP, here today.
"Though honey is a competitive and high value product, it has not been able to grab the attention of domestic consumers due to lack of awareness," said an officer at SNV Surendra Joshi. SNV is one of the development partners helping promote honey.
The per capita consumption of honey in Nepal stands at less than 50gm, which is very low as compared to other countries, he said, adding that lack of policy implementation has hit the promotion of honey.
The country had, some seven years back, brought a policy to promote honey and reduce poverty, but government agencies failed to implement it making people suffer.
"Despite the policy being in place for the last seven years, honey could not be promoted due to lack of ownership and institutionalisation," said joint secretary at the ministry of agriculture development Prabhakar Pathak.
"Besides increasing domestic consumption, honey also needs a market strategy to boost exports," he said, adding that it could be linked to the Agriculture Development Strategy for a better response.
Likewise, presenting his paper, an official at the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) Rajendra Singh said that the country has the potential to produce over 10,000 tonnes of honey. "But an unorganised supply chain, scattered production, and low supply capacity have made honey export cumbersome," he added.
According to TEPC data, Bangladesh is the key market for Nepali honey, as it had imported $79,000 worth of honey from Nepal in 2011, of the total $83,000 worth of honey exported from Nepal. "Nepal had exported a total of 33.442 tonnes of honey in 2011," the data revealed.
"Though Japan has offered zero tariff to Nepal for honey export, we have failed to exploit the Japanese market," Singh added. "Nepal can export honey to Belgium, Germany and the US as these markets have been importing honey in increased amounts."
The total global export volume of honey stands at 500,000 tonnes, whereas China alone exports 99,988 tonnes and Argentina exports some 72,356 tonnes, according to data. Similarly, global imports grew by 15 per cent in value and four per cent in quantity from 2007 to 2011.
However, Nepal needs to commercialise the development and promotion of honey to increase its competitive strength, establish resource centres — including queen breeding — establish accredited Testing and Certification Laboratory of international standards, update laws, regulations and strictly implement for quality and standard, organise training programmes on production and processing, use of insecticides and pesticides, and sensitise farmers on the benefits of beekeeping, pollination and demerits of pesticides.

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