April 29, 2017 12:40 AM NPT
The center will facilitate 20 firms in the first phase
KATHMANDU, April 29: Minister of State for Agricultural Development Radhika Tamang inaugurated Nepal Agribusiness Innovation Center amid a program in Kathmandu on Friday.
The center has been established to help farmers and facilitate local agro-product processing firms, according to officials of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD).
A team of experts from Practical Action and Kathmandu University will facilitate farmers in the center. The center has targeted to support 150 small and medium sized enterprises over the next 18 months.
Among others, the center has been designed to increase competitiveness and growth of local agro-processing companies.
Agribusiness enterprises are important for economy as they have multiplier effects in the supply chain. Growth of these enterprises boosts demand for agricultural products, packaging, transportation, and farm equipment, among others.
The World Bank has provided financial support of about Rs 90 million for the project via Project for Agriculture Commercialization and Trade (PACT).
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Minister of State Tamang said she was hopeful that the center will support in development of local markets as well as in market expansion.
Similarly, Govinda Prasad Sharma, chief of PACT, said that the center will help farmers by providing consultancy services and access to finance, and establishing links with markets.
Meanwhile, the center organized a weeklong boot camp to select the first group of participating companies. The boot camp concluded on Friday. Of the 650 applicants, 20 top-performing companies have been invited to join the newly established innovation center.
The center had sought applications to participate in the booth camp from interested agribusinesses and startup ideas in the first week of February.