Major Challenges in Marketing and Trading of Organic Product In Nepal
In Nepal, the organic agriculture movement was first noticed at its infancy stage in the US policy level. In 1987 American research scholar Ms. Judith came to Nepal (Bhaktapur) and started “organic agriculture” who founded an NGO, Appropriate Agricultural Alternatives (AAA) which is devoted for research advocacy and marketing of organic agriculture. But organic agriculture was first appeared as a priority in the 10th Five Year Plan of the Government of Nepal. Now, it has been embedded in Nepal’s National policy. With the gradually increasing momentum of organic agriculture in Nepal, now we have various organic products like tea, honey, cardamom, vegetables, ginger etc. produced in the country. But due to dearth of proper marketing and trading channels these organic products lack proper market price in and outside the country. The major challenges in developing marketing and trading channels of organic products in Nepal can be briefly described as follows:
Problem of transportation:
Poor transportation facilities are one of the major problems for organic products marketing and trading in Nepal. Nepal is a mountainous country with rocky topography and lacks efficient transportation facilities in most part of the country. So, it is difficult to transport the organic products from one part of the country to another. For e.g. the Cave wild bees Honey have high medicinal value and have high demand in the world market. But due to lack of transportation, study, and proper harvesting it is being unable to reach the proper markets.
Lack of storage
The storage problem is another major problem for organic market in Nepal. Being a developing country, most of the farmers in Nepal are poor. They do not have sufficient storage facilities for their production. e.g. There are no sufficient cold storage facilities for long term storage in Nepal which leads to heavy post-harvest loss.
Lack of proper supply chain
There is limited and erratic domestic supply. There are predominantly two supply chain. The organic products are sold directly through producers and through middlemen. The direct supply chain is not quite common. There is predominance of intermediaries in organic markets in Nepal. Usually, Middlemen collects organic products from producers at low price and sell them to the costumers at higher prices. Thus, the producers do not get the justifiable price for their products.
Lack of Awareness and Promotional activities
There is lack of awareness and promotion of organic products in Nepal. People are still unaware and ignorant about the benefits and health importance of organic products. Promotional activities like advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, etc. are not widely used for organic products. Due to lack of proper advertisements and promotion of organic products, consumers do not get more information about the confirm price, benefits, availability, etc. of organic products.
Lack of Technical knowledge
Lack of technical knowledge is another problem for Nepalese Organic markets. Farmers are not getting technical knowledge about the process of marketing of products. They are still not aware of it.
Lack of Certifying Agencies
Organic Certification is important for proper marketing and premium price of the products. There is lack of certification bodies both governmental and non-governmental and most of the certifying agencies are centralized within the cities and which are out of reach for small and medium farmers. And the certification of international organic product chains has become a complicated and costly service for producer and consumers.
Lack of government initiatives, plan, policies, and assistance for justifying the hard labor of farmers.
Although there are several challenges in the way of developing a concrete market of organic agriculture in Nepal. But the combined efforts of various actors involved in the sector can eliminate these problems and brighten the future of organic products. The major efforts that should be carried out to meet those challenges are:
- Proper transportation facilities connecting every nooks and corners of the country. The policy and program should emphasize the organic food rather than the market and the business oriented agricultural system.
- There should be establishment of proper supply chain of organic products. It needs more participation of organic retailers in advice and other marketing communication actions.
- We need Improvement in traceability, origin, and information by regulating the distribution channels. There are serious shortcomings now.
- A variety of marketing channels should be promoted because that is what the diversity of consumers of organic foodstuffs call for. There should be campaigns, conferences, and advertisements for the promotion of organic products benefits and need for healthy environment and people.
- Organic certification is must for wining trust of consumers for exportable organic product but, medium and small farmers cannot afford the additional costs as well as arduous certification process. There is a need of a packaged program so that a farmer can be self-equipped and prepared for the process of certification providing technical, logistic, and other necessary infrastructure.
- Availability of subsidy in price and insurance of the production is the biggest incentive for the farmers. There should be separate and interrelated networking of training, research and technology development, verification, and extension of organic agriculture for its progress and development.
In conclusion, organic farming holds out a great scope in the Nepalese context. But there is still a long way to achieve a complete success. We need coordinated efforts among the government, farmers, researchers to boost it by meeting the challenges on the way to its development. Policy environment, private public partnership with inclusive business adapting to fair trade principles and clear long-term vision and plan are vital for developing this sector & there is greater need of research, extension, market development and commercialization to this sector.