The recent years have seen sanitary pads becoming inseparable component of menstruation management. With the awareness related to menstrual health rising among women and increasing income levels, thanks to remittance inflow, the growing demand has led to increase in import of sanitary pads. The data presented here also show bright prospects for sanitary pad production in Nepal. The import data of the last seven years indicate the feasibility to set up medium sized sanitary pad plants in Nepal. Establishing such industries will help us to substitute the annual import of sanitary pads worth over Rs 2 billion.
However, the growth in import of sanitary pads in the fiscal year 2019/20 was slower compared to previous years due to the Covid-19 related disruptions. It also indicates that the pandemic might have negatively impacted in the menstrual hygiene of Nepali women.
Though Nepal's export figure of sanitary pads is very small, the global market size of sanitary pads (USD 15.83 billon) shows the export opportunity for Nepal. Considering these statistics, the government and entrepreneurs (especially women entrepreneurs) should step up to establish a sound base of sanitary industry in Nepal. Good news is that some entrepreneurs are already into production of sanitary pads in Nepal and have even started exporting such products. Though the exports volume is quite low at present, there is good potential to increase the quantity. As sanitary pads are essentially related to health and hygiene of women, there is a possibility to receive support from the donor community and the government. Nonetheless, entrepreneurs may face difficulties to establish and export sanitary pads due to the existing bureaucratic hurdles.