VEGETABLE DEVELOPMNENT IN THE LAST SIX DECADES IN NEPAL
Indra Raj Pandey and Shanta Man Shakya
Domestication and cultivation of vegetables has always been the integral part of agriculture in Nepal since time immemorial. However, the official effort of vegetable research and development could be traced back to mid19th century when Rana Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana introduced European vegetables in Kathmandu valley. Then, another Rana Prime Minister Chandra Samsher established Agricultural Council in 1937 and gave due importance in agricultural research including vegetables. Establishment of experimental and plant introduction farms in Kathmandu valley, Kakani and Parwanipur and seed sale store in New Road, Kathmanduwere the initial works. Vegetable research and development took some momentum during 1940 to 1972. However, this sub-sector geared up only after 1972 when agro-eco-zonal strategies were adopted in vegetable research and its fresh and seed production. Nepal celebrated Agriculture Year(1975/76) with two strategies: 1) Commercial/market oriented fresh vegetable production in accessible areas and along the road corridors, and 2) Vegetable seed production in the remote areas. From 1980 onward different donor funded projects contributed in vegetable research, seed and market oriented fresh production. By 1995 some 35 vegetable varieties were released. Seed Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal (SEAN) was established. Area, production, productivity and per capita availability and consumption of vegetables have increased. During recent time, import of hybrid varieties is in increasing trend replacing Nepalese open pollinated varieties. Government of Nepal has prepared and approved Seed Vision 2013-2025 to increase the varietal replacement rate to 90 % and release additional 30 hybrid varieties (20 by public and 10 by private sector) to increase productivity, meet commercialization target and increase competitiveness of Nepalese vegetable sector.