RAMESH KUMAR POUDEL
CHITWAN, March 2: Local entrepreneurs have strongly opposed a government plan to open up the country´s poultry sector for foreign direct investment.
A national gathering of hatchery entrepreneurs held on Friday in Bharatpur, Chitwan, concluded that foreign investment is not necessary in the poultry sector as the country is already self-sufficient in production of eggs, chicks and chicken meat.
Poultry entrepreneurs´ reaction comes after the Ministry of Industry (MoI) forwarded a proposal to the Industrial Promotion Board (IPB) to open up the poultry sector for foreign direct investment.
Poultry is among 23 sectors where external investment is prohibited. Around 80 hatcheries entrepreneurs had put forth their views on the proposed foreign investment in the poultry sector at the gathering.
“We are already self-sufficient in poultry production. If the government opens the door for foreign investment in this sector, we will be pushed to the verge of collapse. This will result in losses of hundreds of thousands of jobs,” Shiva Prasad Sharma, president of the Nepal Hatchery Industries Association (NHIA), said in a statement.
The proposal submitted by Industry Minister Anil Kumar Jha envisages allowing up to 75 percent foreign direct investment in poultry firms.
“The government´s fresh move will prevent us from upgrading our production capacity, which will ultimately weaken institutional capacity and hit the entire sector,” said NHIA Vice-president Tikaram Pokharel.
According to him, around Rs 60 billion worth of domestic investment drawn so far by the poultry sector has led Nepal to become self-dependent in production of eggs, chicks and chicken.
The government has already allowed foreign investment in pellet feed production. Himalayan Feeds and Shakti Feeds are Indian joint-venture companies while Well-Up is Chinese joint-venture firm.