Policy dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of forest enterprise

Attaining prosperity from forestry is one of the pressing policy priorities in the forestry sector of Nepal. With the new local government system in place, there are ample opportunities to support community forests and local farmers in promoting forest-based enterprises. However, there are still gaps pertinent to the financial, technical, and policy aspects of FBEs in Nepal.

With an aim to develop a common understanding on the issue and identify ways forward to promote FBEs, ForestAction Nepal in support of the Australian Aid, conducted a local government-level policy dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of forest enterprises in Chautara, Sindhupalchok, on October 1, 2023. Diverse stakeholders from local government (wards, municipalities), the Department of Cottage and Small Industries (Gharelu), technicians, researchers, NGO (Forest Action Nepal), furniture entrepreneurs, Lapsi entrepreneurs, media and outreach, etc. were actively engaged to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and ways out for forest enterprise development.

Some of the key takeaway messages from the policy dialogue are as follows:

● Unhealthy international competition should be checked and addressed by our existing trade related policies to create a safe and competitive business environment.

● A single-enterprise registration agency is crucial to avoid tedious process of registration.

● An effective monitoring system and the formation of a separate task team would be crucial to check the operation and overall status of the enterprises registered under them.

● Policy, legal reform for the better governance of the enterprises sector

● A system of laws, rules, processes, and stakeholders, together with their respective roles and norm should be brought together by the business institutional framework to further shape the socioeconomic activities of the entrepreneur.

● Capacity development and skill training to identify opportunities, set goals, and develop strategies to ensure that forest resources are used effectively and efficiently.

● Business Promotion Services to gain the national and international recognition

● Prioritizing on ergonomic aspects by implementing the insurance and workers safety gears while working