September 13: Karnali Province, which is considered to be lagging behind other provinces, has a lot of business potential especially in the field of herbal trade, tourism, energy and agribusiness.
A study report on economic activities of Karnali Province by Nepal Rastra Bank shows that there is high potential for herbal industry in the region as the province has reserves of herbal raw materials. NRB had studied the economic activities of Karnali in the first six months of the last fiscal year 2077/78.
The study has shown that most of the territory of the state is made up of hills and high mountains and there are also reserves of valuable herbs and mineral oil, mines and gems. Similarly, the central bank says that the business related to agriculture also has high potential. The report mentions that employment opportunities can be created by making youth entrepreneurs run agriculture and herbal related industries in the province.
Furthermore, according to the bank, as Karnali also has potential for organic agribusiness.
The study has also shown that there is high potential of tourism in Karnali. Beautiful lakes like Rara, Phoksundo, Bulbule and the areas of religious and cultural significance such as Kankrebihar, Deuti Bajyai, Chandannath, and the holy flame of Panchkoshi as well as various temples, pilgrimage sites and valleys are located in the province.
Executive Director of Nepal Rastra Bank Dr Prakash Kumar Shrestha also said that there is a high potential for tourism entrepreneurs in Karnali. “The state has beautiful lakes and offers beautiful scenery of the Himalayan range. At the same time, there is also geographical diversity,” he said, adding, “In this case, Karnali can be made a tourism hub.”
Similarly, the report states that there is high potential for hydropower business in the province due to water resources and geographical diversity. Commercial farming and entrepreneurship as well as production and productivity can be increased by introducing modern technology and irrigation from big rivers and other water sources.
The study suggests that workers going for foreign employment can also be attracted to agribusiness. According to the study, a large number of workers from the province go for foreign employment. It is said that if they can be attracted to agribusiness, the production and productivity of the agricultural sector will also increase.
There is a possibility to develop and expand small and medium enterprises in Karnali by maximum utilization of concessional loans. In addition, the study report states that there is a need for investment in the education and health sectors in the province.
Dr Shrestha says that despite such commercial viability, there are also lots of challenges in the province. He states that the main challenge is the lack of necessary infrastructure.
"The number of tourists who go to see the Fewa lake in Pokhara is not the same as the number of tourists visiting Rara Lake in Karnali," he said, “If the infrastructure can be developed, there is business potential in the region including tourism.”
Moreover, the report also states that there is a challenge to reduce the poverty and unemployment by creating employment opportunities in the province for most of the young people who travel to India and Gulf countries for foreign employment.