KATHMANDU, June 10: Vivek Sah, who owns a sweet shop in Barmajiya, Saptari, has taken part in the National Cottage and Small Industrial Expo for the first time. His family has been selling peda, a popular sweet made out of milk, branded as 'Bajeko Peda', for more than five decades.
"This is the first time that we participate in a trade fair. Lot of people tasted our products for the first time. We managed to sell more than 100 kg of pedas in five days," Sah told Republica.
Rama Khatri, proprietor of Himali Instant Noodle Factory of Argakhanchi, sold 1,500 packets of instant noodles during the 30th National Cottage and Industrial Expo. Khatri, who is participating in the expo with her daughter, also her business partner, said that forums like these provide small entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase their product in a bigger market.
Started in 1992, Himali Instant Noodle Factory produces around 1,200 packets of noodles. The product is consumed within Argakhanchi district.
"We are very eager to send our productions to nearby Gulmi and Pyuthan districts. But we don't have resources to expand our production capacity. We are looking for investments," she added.
Swargadwari Bee Concern of Dang sold around 15 kg of honey during the expo. "It is very difficult to sell honey nowadays because people have doubts about quality because the market is flooded with substandard products," Sohail Shah, who looks after sales and marketing for the enterprise, told Republica. "We sold 15 kilograms of honey during the expo. There is no dearth of buyers for quality products."
Ranajit Bohora, Proprietor of Shree Sundaha Fruits and Vegetable Industry of Dolpa had brought 1,500 walnuts, 60 packets of Jimbu – a type of dried aromatic herb, five kilograms of dried apple and five cartons of apple jam. "All the products have been sold," he said. "I produce these products in 20 ropani of land. It is very difficult to find market for our products as there is no road access. The government should help us," he added.
The expo concluded on Sunday. Exhibitors say there were fewer visitors this year compared to past editions of the expo. Most of the visitors were found interested in organic agro products. Dhan Bahadur GC from Hattiban bought millet, honey, lentils and other organic products at the expo. "These products are comparatively expensive. We need to buy these products as it helps to promote local products and encourage small and medium enterprises," he added.
BEST EXHIBITORS AWARDED
Best exhibitors from all seven provinces were awarded during the concluding ceremony organized on Sunday.
Chandan Fibre Industry of Taplejung (Province 1), Anshu Bamboo and Handicraft of Bara (Province 2), Sabita Clothes Industry of Lalitpur (Province 3), Marpha Fruits and Vegetables Industry of Mustang (Gandaki Province), Sahansil Didi-Bahini Industry of Dang (Province 5), Tinchuli Allo and Nepali Paper Industry of Jajarkot (Karnali Province) and Laxmi Allo Industry of Bajura (Sudur Pashchim Province) were awarded with cash prize of Rs 13,000 by the organizers.
Speaking at the program, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prashad Yadav said that events like these provide platform exposure to small entrepreneurs. "We are mulling over providing concessional loans to small and medium enterprises," he added.
Similarly, Shyam Prasad Giri, president of Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI), said the expo succeeded in providing much-needed exposure to small enterprises scattered all over the country.
The expo attracted over 180,000 visitors and recorded transactions worth Rs 60 million, according to Giri. "Participating enterprises have received Rs 40 million worth of orders from retailers and wholesalers," he added.