China, Nepal to speed up agricultural cooperation as fastest path to real gains
Published: Sep 26, 2023 09:22 PM
Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal Photo: VCG

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal Photo: VCG

During Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda's visit to China, the two nations issued a joint statement on Tuesday, vowing to accelerate win-win cooperation on agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and many other areas, and to facilitate Nepal to graduate from the least developed country status at an early date.

Experts noted that the two countries have huge potential to strengthen cooperation, especially in the agriculture sector, which could rapidly bring tangible benefits to local residents and help them reduce poverty.

The two agreed to further deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in such fields as the economy and trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, production capacity, poverty alleviation, health and education to promote common development, read the statement.

China and Nepal welcome the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries between the two sides, and the recent successful export of Nepali haylage to China. China expresses its readiness to speed up the approval process for the import of cooked buffalo meat products from Nepal to China, which the two sides view as a positive step to reduce trade imbalances.

China is ready to assist the Nepali side in meeting the phytosanitary requirements for the export of Nepali citrus fruits to China and in establishing a multifunctional quarantine laboratory in Nepal.

The two also plan to shore up cooperation on variety breeding and standardized scale culture of Yak, Nak and mountain goats (Chyangra). The two sides plan to establish agriculture industrial demonstration park to further promote cooperation on agriculture, according to the statement.

In the statement, Nepal expresses its appreciation to China for granting zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of taxable products from Nepal.

In July, the first batch of haylage exported by Nepal to China set out from Bharatpur in southern Nepal, en route to Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region. 

According to the Xinhua News Agency, the silage producer Nepal Horizon International is aiming at opening up three or four more processing factories in Nepal within the next two years and exporting 300,000 tons of haylage to Xizang annually, which will be worth $30 million.

The $30 million in annual exports mean "the export volume from Nepal to China will double," Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Chen Song said at the shipment ceremony.

In the first eight months of this year, China's imports from Nepal stood at 151.8 million yuan ($20.77 million), soaring 55.2 percent year-on-year, per data from China's General Administration of Customs.

"With China's advanced technology in the agricultural industry, it is not a hard issue for the country to help certain Nepali regions to increase production by several times," Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the Research Center for China-South Asia Cooperation at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"Investment in agricultural cooperation yields tangible benefits at a fastest pace, with results visible in just a matter of months," Liu said.

China has abundant experiences in cooperation with less-developed countries. Based on mutual respect and win-win principles, such cooperation on agriculture, infrastructure and many other sectors has generated huge benefits for local residents and societies in related countries and regions, experts noted.

Chandra Prasad Dhakal, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the Nepal-China Business Summit held on Sunday in Beijing that "China is building up huge infrastructure very close to the Nepalese border that is reducing logistics costs tremendously. We feel that in the coming times, we must try and extract this more and make it more competitive for [Nepalese] businesses."

Liu stressed that besides the agricultural sector, China and Nepal have started cooperation in many fields, although some of them have been promoted inefficiently due to factors such as external political interference.

"Effective promotion of joint projects is a key to generate tangible benefits to both sides," he added.