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Nepal imported milk powder and butter worth Rs 1.3 billion in 8 months, but PM declared country self-sufficient

File: Milk powder and butter

Kathmandu, March 26

Amid a special function on Thursday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli announced that the country is now self-sufficient in certain animal products including milk powder, butter, eggs, and meat products.

However, the records of the Department of Customs under the Ministry of Industry tell something different. The department’s statistics only accept half of the government’s announcement.

The country is self-sufficient on eggs and chicken meat only, but it is highly dependent on others in terms of milk powder and butter, according to the department.

In the first eight months of the current fiscal year (mid-July 2020-mid-March 2021), Nepal imported 93,250 kg butter by spending Rs 496.5 million, records at the department read. Likewise, in this period, Nepal imported 1 million and 182,253 kilograms of milk powder worth Rs 813 million.

Three factories in Chitwan, Biratnagar and Pokhara produce 2,800 metric tonnes of milk powder a year, and it is insufficient to meet the country’s annual demand of more than 4,000 metric tonnes, says Narayan Devkota, the chairman of the Central Dairy Cooperative Association.

Likewise, agriculture expert Krishna Prasad Paudel says the government’s announcement only speaks of the situation in Kathmandu and Chitwan only.

“Perhaps this is for a cheap popularity,” Paudel says, “The data do not support this.”

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Nabin Dhungana is a business correspondent at Onlinekhabar.

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