Nepal Government, the EU and the private sector have joined hands to enhance the trade potential of the Himalayan republic. In a collective effort and with a focus on high potential commodities, such as coffee, the partners work on value chain development, quality enhancement and job creation to stimulate inclusive economic growth, rural development and poverty reduction through trade. The potential is significant as could be seen e.g. in the inspirational example of Vietnam, another country in Asia which managed to become the world's second largest exporter of coffee.
"Challenges on the way to a prospering Nepal include the creation of decent jobs in sufficient numbers, the swift improvement of the infrastructure and connectivity, and the enhancement of the business environment. This can be turned into opportunities, which then would create a wider variety of economic prospects outside subsistence agriculture," said the press release issued by EU.
The € 6 million project has a special focus on employment-generating economic growth. This growth is necessary to enhance the livelihoods of the rural population and to achieve comprehensive and visible improvements in terms of agricultural productivity and economic development, thus lifting a large segment of the population effectively out of poverty.
The approach is to encourage livelihood opportunities in rural areas through creating on-farm and off-farm employment as an alternative to seeking employment opportunities outside the country. This will be targeted by supporting better production techniques, value chain development and trade-related capacity building. The efforts of the Government to reduce poverty and to stimulate trade-led economic growth will be strengthened in three dimensions.
They include enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies to formulate and implement policies to increase the overall competitiveness of Nepalese products at home and abroad, strengthening the national quality infrastructure to enable Nepalese producers and exporters to demonstrate compliance with the regulatory requirements in export markets, and by providing support to the development of the coffee value chain by helping producers to improve their productivity, enhance outputs and quality of exportable coffee products.
Minister for Commerce and Supplies, Sunil Bahadur Thapa remarked during a project event on 9 September 2015, "This project is a timely initiative to help Nepal in its efforts to become more export competitive and to address the growing trade deficit."
"We believe that "Coffee from the Himalayas" has the potential to establish itself as a synonym for high quality coffee across the globe and are pleased to engage with our Nepali partners from the Government and the Private sector to pursue this goal," EU Ambassador to Nepal, Rensje Teerink said.
The project entered its operational phase in April 2015 and will end in January 2018.