Production vs. Marketing of Kiwi Fruits in Nepal

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Ganesh Shakya,

These days kiwi fruit is gaining popularity in Nepal specially in the field of production side. It could be a new fruit to Nepali consumers but in the world context, the kiwi farming had already been started at 16th. century.

Kiwi, known as a Chinese gooseberry, is a native plant to China. In 1906, New Zealand started massive cultivation of Kiwi fruits. In fact, Kiwi is the nick name used internationally for people from New Zealand. The name derived from kiwi bird which is native to, and the national symbol of New Zealand. Scientifically, it is known as Actinidia deliciosa. The commercial farming of kiwi fruits started universally since 1940. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is said to be the first doing research work on kiwi fruits in Nepal. The commercial farming of Kiwi fruit in Nepal started from Ilam and Kavre district in 2007.

Production side

From the beginning of 21st century, the international agencies like ICINOD and JICA, Horticulture Development Directorate of Nepal Government and the private sectors are supporting the extension of kiwi fruits farming in Nepal. Recently, the Chinese delegates had also discussed with Nepal government for the commercialization of kiwi fruits farming in Nepal. As a result, the Nepalese farmers are having been attracted to kiwi fruits farming and the number of kiwi fruits farmers is increasing day by day.

The most important thing is suitable climate and that is easily available in Nepal for kiwi fruits farming. Kiwi fruit is well grown in the altitude above the orange growing area and below the apple growing area i.e. the altitude of 1000 to 2400 meter above the sea level.  About 40 districts of Nepal are estimated to be feasible for kiwi fruit farming. Till date, kiwi farming has been extended in more than 10 districts. Some of the districts are Ilam, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Dolkha, Solukhumbu, Kavre, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Makwanpur, Nuwakot.

The fruits can reap after 2-3 years of its plantation and the plants give fruits for 30 to 40 years. A healthy plant or vine yields 50 to 100 kg of fruits depending upon the variety and species. The main varieties are Hayward, Monty, Bruno, Allison, Gracie, Queen beauty, Radisson.

The area under kiwi cultivation is increasing instantly in Nepal. Therefore in coming days, the production of kiwi fruits is sure to increase. Because, the government farm, INGOs and the private nurseries are continuously producing kiwi saplings and distributing to old and new farmers. The existence of different types of favorable environment has also helped the kiwi fruits farming extension. Up to now, the production aspect is going well.

Marketing side

Obliviously, a mere production without enhancing marketing is seldom efficacious. Because, production and marketing are the two faces of the same coin. One cannot sustain without another. Therefore, the farmers as well the promoters should be aware of marketing side also.  It is not that the farmers at the very beginning had not faced the marketing problem. Many farmers in those days had big tension of market lacking. At that time the farmers is not aware of which varieties of kiwi fruit is good or bad for fresh consumption. They just planted, grown the plants whatever they got from the nursery or somewhere else.  However, at present this type of problem may not repeat because the kiwi fruits specialist has now identified the appropriate species and recommended to the farmers.

According to a kiwi fruit specialist Mr. Chandra Man Shrestha, the minimum production cost of kiwi fruit per ropani is 50, 000 Nepalese rupees. In a ropani of land, 12 plants can be grown. Out of 12 plants, 8 are female and 4 are male plants. If all the female plants are healthy, they will produce maximum 640 kg fruits at the average rate of 80 kg per plant. If the produce is sold at Rs. 300 per kg, the gross sales price will be Rs. 192,000. The net profit per ropani will be Rs. 100,000 after deducting production and marketing cost Rs 42,000. This is a good profit indeed.

Up to now, the kiwi fruit in Nepalese domestic market is promoting as a niche product. So, there is no marketing problem. But few years later it is sure that the supply in the market will be double or even tripled. What will happen at that time, the farmers must imagine the situation.

At a time when Nepali people are not well familiar with kiwi fruit in one side and the high price in other side, there is no way rather than lessening the current market price if they want to sustain the ever growing farming of kiwi fruit. The farmers should pay attention not only in production side but also find out the cost effectiveness of the product so that the situation of throwing products on road should not be repeated. A very good wine, jam, jelly and juice could be made from kiwi fruits. So, the concerned people and agencies should plan for it right now.  For this all the actors involved in kiwi fruit promotional activities should go in planned way to sustainable development of kiwi fruit in Nepal.