Kathmandu, Mar. 8: President Bidya Devi Bhandari has inaugurated the 15th Nepal International Industrial Trade Fair and Cottage Industry Festival and the Third Organic Farming Festival, 2019 at Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu today.
Organised by the Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI), the trade fair had kicked off on Thursday but it has been formally inaugurated today coinciding with the International Women's Day.
The industrial trade fair has been organised around the main theme - 'My Own Country's Efforts, Creation, Production and Goods' and 'Let Us Use Nepali Products, Let Us Take Pride in Being Nepalis'.
It is believed that the trade fair would be an effective means of promoting the cottage industry and domestic products which are considered important in export promotion. It is also expected to contribute to the development and expansion of skills and capacity.
On the occasion, President Bhandari keenly observed the various stalls kept at the festival venue. She also acquired information from the entrepreneurs about the process of manufacturing the Dhaka fabric, hemp fibre textiles and other cottage industry products.
FNCSI president Shyam Prasad Giri said that the government itself should lay emphasis on promoting the domestic products in the context of the country incurring annual trade deficit of more than Rs 120 billion and even the daily essentials being imported from abroad.
A study shows that only 15 to 25 per cent of the domestic production is consumed in urban area while 40 to 45 per cent of the domestic products are consumed in the rural areas of the country. The Federation believes that increasing the domestic production and its smooth trade alone could contribute to reducing the ballooning trade deficit.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies; Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC); Micro, Cottage and Small Industries Development Fund; Department of Women and Children; and President Women Empowerment Fund (PWEF) are the co-organizers of the festival.
There were 386,512 small and cottage industries across the country in fiscal year 2016/2017. Only 264,086 of these industries are in operation at present. The total capital investment in these industries is Rs 35.31 billion and two million 466 thousand 992 people are employed in this sector. The exhibition will showcase all those industries and their products during the five-day-long trade fair.
"Although the small and cottage industries have stood as a backbone for the country's economic development and prosperity, the entire sector has been lagging behind in lack of modern technology and skill development efforts," Giri added. "Despite its great potential, the Nepali cottage industry lacks adequate branding and promotion. It is because of this that Nepalis prefer imported goods over Nepali products,” he said.
There are 205 stalls exhibiting various cottage industry goods and products. This includes the stalls kept by 80 industries from 52 districts outside the Kathmandu valley and 45 international stalls of China, India, Bangladesh, among other countries.
The organisers expect some 450 visitors will observe the trade fair and transactions of around Rs 150 million would be done.
Addressing the inaugural function of the trade fair, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav said foreign investment is to be attracted for the country's prosperity while at the same time enhancing and protecting the domestic economy.
He said the government has brought short-term, medium-term and long-term plan for the development and expansion of the small and cottage industries, stressing their significant role in import substitution.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City's deputy mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi, president of Central Women Entrepreneurs Committee, Shiva Upadhyay, president of Organic Association of Nepal Deepak Prakash Banskota, among the speakers underscored the common understanding and resolve of the government and the private sector for the promotion of small and cottage industries. RSS
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