HORTICULTURE IN NEPAL: JOURNEY IN THE LAST SIX DECADES
Shiva Bahadur Nepali Pradhan, Padam Prasad Shrestha and
Prahlad Kumar Thapa
Horticulture was limited to growing indigenous fruits and vegetables during 50s and earlierin the private sector, while collecting and growing fancy plants existed in the palaces of Rana Prime Ministers . Horticulture development at the government level started during fifties when the Horticulture Division was created in the newly established Department of Agriculture. Many farms were established during sixties, commodity development divisions were established in seventies, several projects were implemented and NARC was established in eighties, concept of privatization and sustainability of horticultural farms was introduced in nineties, and commodity divisions were promoted to directorates and horticultural farms were given commodity specific mandates and their names were also changed accordingly. In the last sixty years, there has been significant progress in policy development, institutional development, and technology generation and transfer. Fruit production has increased to 965,000 mt, vegetable production to 3,421,035mt, and potato to 2,817,512 mt from almost less than 100,000 mt during the early fifties. With Nepal’s membership to WTO and regional trade associations, increasing education levels and nutrition knowledge of the people, increasing demand for fruits and high import, etc. shows high prospects for horticulture development in Nepal. Promotion of horticultural business, promotion of foreign investment, and enhancing production are some of the ways ahead in horticulture development. In order to harness the potentiality of horticultural development in Nepal experience shows that there are challenges such as enhancing production, improving physical infrastructure, enhancing marketing, and promotion of processing, to be addressed.This paper has tried to give a short glimpse of horticulture development in the last sixty years in Nepal. It has focused more on the institutional development history, major successes, prospects and challenges for development.