February 23: Agriculture experts and scientists of Nepal have established the National Food Bank Limited with an investment of Rs 2 billion to industrialize the agricultural sector of the country.
The food bank has been established with the objective of industrializing the agriculture sector in the near future by properly managing the necessary knowledge, skills, seeds and fertilisers required for this sector.
The bank has been established by skilled manpower, experts and agricultural scientists working in the field of agriculture. The main objective of the organization is marketing of agriculture sector by making its presence in all 77 districts of the seven provinces. The bank is carrying out its plan to increase employment, increase production and to move the country towards self-reliance through big investments in agriculture.
Speaking at a press conference in Kathmandu on Monday, chairman of the food bank Shankar Nath Upreti claimed that the bank would play an important role in supporting the government’s campaign of 'Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali'. According to him, the bank will itself produce food grains, nuts, green vegetables, fruits, milk, yogurt, fish, meat, tea, herbs and other food items.
Moreover, the bank aims to cooperate with farmers across the country as well as with agricultural companies, cooperatives, groups and all organizations related to the agricultural sector.
The bank plans to produce agricultural products by renting unused land including private, government institutions and ‘guthi’ land. So far, the work of leasing the land and producing has started in Kailali, Kanchanpur, Bardiya, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Dhanusha, Chitwan, Rupandehi and other districts.
The food bank, which is working with short-term, mid-term and long-term objectives, has given priority to the production of paddy, wheat, maize, millet, potato, mustard and nuts in the first phase. In the second phase, production of fish, meat, fruits, milk, vegetables, etc. will be emphasized and in the third phase, these products will be exported to different countries by storing, processing, grading and packaging.
According to government data, Nepal has imported rice worth Rs 56 billion, lemon worth Rs 7 billion and onion worth Rs 7 billion in the last two years. Referring to this data, Chairman Upreti said that the food bank would play an important role in increasing exports by reducing imports.