KATHMANDU, July 24: Forty-five percent of the total land in the country is covered with forest. Despite this, the country's dependence on other countries for timber is growing.
Statistics show that Nepal's annual import of wood and wooden materials exceeds Rs 6.5 billion. In the fiscal year 2075-76 BS (2018-2019), Nepal spent Rs 6.61 billion against 5.56 billion in the previous year in the import of timber and timber products from several countries including India, Indonesia, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.
The import includes wooden logs, timber, wooden frames, ply boards and other products. The size of plywood products tops the import chart. Department of Customs director and information officer Shishir Ghimire, wooden charcoals, wooden powder, match sticks and toothpicks are imported in the country. In the previous fiscal year 2071-72 BS, Rs 2.13 billion was spent in the import of such materials. Timber export from the country is very little in comparison with the import as ply and wooden crafts worth Rs 55.6 million was exported to India, China, the United States of America, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
According to the data of the Ministry of Forest and Environment, timber measuring 17, 552,000 cubic feet were produced (from government, community and private forest) in the fiscal year 2074-75 BS. However, the annual demand for timber in the country is around 30 million cubic feet. Forest Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet had formulated the 'Forest Improvement Action Plan, 2075 BS' and introduced various plans under the Forest Management and Utilisation Programme with his assumption on the office.