May 24, 2022, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Nepal imports fruits worth over Rs 11 billion while arable land remains uncultivated

The Nepal Weekly
April 27, 2022

Although agriculture has been a major sector of the Nepal’s economy as the main source of livelihood, employment, and economic and social transformation, it has been found that the country has been importing a huge quantity of goods.    

The agriculture sector has more than one-third contribution in the country’s gross domestic product and more than the two-thirds population is dependent on agriculture.    

In the economic survey 2077/78 BS, the contribution of the agriculture sector to the GDP was estimated to be 25.8 percent.    

Data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics show that the contribution of agro sector to the GDP would be 27 percent in the current fiscal year.    

According to the Bureau, fruits worth Rs 11.70 billion were imported during the nine-month of the current fiscal year. Although the contribution of agriculture is remarkable in the country’s economic sector, swathes of arable land have remained barren.   

 A large amount of money received as remittance goes abroad in imports as the agriculture production has not been increased significantly due to the subsistence agriculture.    

Most of the land in the hilly region is uncultivated. Seven percent of the total cultivable land of the country is uncultivated.    

Foodgrains worth arpund Rs 60 billion have been imported. Similarly, 1.8 million kilograms of tobacco and tobacco products were imported.

The huge volume of imports gives the message that the domestic production is very negligible. Two thousand youths go for foreign employees on a daily basis. As per informal data, nearly four million youths are abroad in course of foreign employment.    

Spending of a large chunk of money from remittance in consumer goods means the remittance is not utilized in productive sectors and it has also not created an industrial environment.    

According to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central bank of the country, nearly 75 percent of the money received from remittances is spent on purchasing consumer goods.

Various studies show that failure to utilize remittance in economic prosperity will not result in a long-term and strategic impact on the national economy.    

As per the details on the status of imports and exports in the first nine months of the current fiscal year released by the Department of Customs, the country has spent billions on imports of consumer goods and even the agriculture products that can be produced within the country itself are being imported by spending the valuable foreign currency.

It is seen that billions of foreign currency go abroad in import of major food grains such as rice, maize, millet, etc as well as fruits. The country imported fresh and dry fruits worth more than 11 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, 2021/22, the Department stated.