Agricultural products lead export growth in first halfExport revenues swelled by 15.46 percent mainly due to a rise in shipments of cardamom, tea and medicinal and aromatic plants.
Export revenues from listed products swelled by 15.46 percent in the first half of the fiscal year mainly due to a sharp rise in shipments of cardamom, tea and medicinal and aromatic plants to India.
According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, the export of products listed in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy between mid-July and mid-January were valued at Rs19 billion, up from Rs16.49 billion during the same period in 2019-20.
Amrit Lamsal, under-secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, said that exports of cardamom, tea, pashmina and medicinal herbs had grown while yarns, carpets, footwear and textiles showed a slight dip, which was nothing to worry about.
Shipments of tea and cardamom to India have increased, both in terms of quantity and value, since the lockdown was lifted thanks to a growth in output this year.
Former commerce secretary Purushottam Ojha said that exports of the listed agricultural products swelled as the pandemic had no effect on their production.
“But there is nothing to be happy about. We have such a huge trade deficit, a 15 percent increase in exports is insignificant and does not help to lessen the trade deficit much,” Ojha told the Post.
In order to increase exports of the listed products, a massive development and export programme needs to be introduced, Ojha said.
Trade Policy 2015 has identified 24 other Nepali products that have a comparative and competitive advantage. “A product-specific trade/export policy needs to be introduced considering the development and improvement in production, development of the value chain and increased market,” he said.
Cardamom shipments saw a sharp 51.6 percent year-on-year jump to Rs3.81 billion from Rs2.51 billion. Nepali traders exported 4.77 million kg of cardamom in the first six months of the current fiscal year against 3.13 million kg in the same period in the last fiscal year.
Traders said that increased demand from India and higher prices led to a steep growth in the value of cardamom exports. Nepal's cardamom exports in the last fiscal year were worth Rs4 billion.
Pashmina exports increased by 32.56 percent to Rs1.56 billion during the review period from Rs1.17 billion previously.
Dharma Raj Shakya, former president of the Handicraft Association of Nepal, said that design improvements, promotion of Chyangra brand pashmina and diversification of markets resulted in a sharp increase in pashmina shipments.
Nepal's pashmina exports in the last fiscal year amounted to Rs1.76 billion.
Tea exports in the first six months jumped 67.5 percent to Rs2.77 billion, compared to Rs1.65 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year. Nepal's tea exports in the whole of the last fiscal year were valued at Rs2.78 billion.
Tea shipments in the first half totalled 8.78 million kg, compared to 6.72 million kg previously.
Traders said that Nepal was able to capitalise on rising demand and higher prices in India due to a drop in production there. The price of Nepali teas jumped by 40-60 percent on strong demand and a huge shortfall in India, benefiting domestic producers.
Exports of medicinal and aromatic plants increased sharply by 34.24 percent to Rs960.84 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year, up from Rs715.788 million previously. Shipments of medicinal herbs in the whole of the last fiscal year were valued at Rs1.56 billion.
Ginger exports inched up by 3.34 percent to Rs295.15 million from Rs285.60 million previously. Ginger exports in the whole of the last fiscal year came to Rs435.77 million.
Nepal's export of yarns dropped 7 percent to Rs3.94 billion from Rs4.23 billion in the first half of the previous fiscal year. Exports in the last fiscal year were worth Rs7.25 billion.
Textile shipments too fell by 3.86 percent to Rs1.62 billion. Nepal exported textiles worth Rs1.69 billion in the first six months of the last fiscal year. Textile shipments in the last fiscal year were valued at Rs2.87 billion.
Carpet exports declined by 2.83 percent to Rs3.52 billion during the review period, compared to Rs3.63 billion in the same period last year. Shipments in the whole of the last fiscal year were worth Rs6.15 billion.
Footwear exports in the first half were also down by 6.9 percent to Rs536 million from Rs575 million previously. Nepal exported footwear worth Rs786.31 million in the whole of the last fiscal year.