Nepali Farmers Consider Soybean as a Secondary Crop


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Sep 22, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

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In the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal, a country often associated with its majestic mountains and rich cultural heritage, is making waves in the agricultural commodity industry. But have you ever pondered the intricacies of Nepal’s soybean trade and imports? Let’s embark on a journey to understand the dynamics of this trade in 2023.

The Soybean Scenario

Soybeans, often dubbed as the “golden beans,” are not just a dietary staple but also a significant economic driver. For countries like Nepal, they represent both an opportunity and a challenge. But why is this humble bean so crucial?

Balancing Act: Demand vs. Supply

Nepal’s burgeoning population and changing dietary habits have led to an increased demand for soybean products. Soybeans are a primary source of protein, especially for those who follow a vegetarian diet, which is prevalent in Nepal. But here’s the catch: can Nepal produce enough to meet its own demands?

In 2023, from January to August, Nepal’s domestic soybean production faced challenges. Unpredictable weather patterns, limited arable land, and lack of advanced farming techniques meant that domestic production couldn’t keep pace with demand. This imbalance naturally led to an increased reliance on imports.

Despite various importance of soybean, they are considered as secondary crops as greater importance are given to cereals crops. Soybean has low stability in production and higher losses in storage in comparison to cereal crops. And also, the market prices of these soybean keep fluctuating so, first priority is given to cereal crops as it has better market and more profitability. Farmers consider soybean to be more sensitive to diseases, pest and weather condition so, high yield is not assured. So, it is considered as secondary crops. According to AgFlow data, Nepal imported 31,466 tons of Soybeans from the United States in Jan – Aug.    

Trade-offs in the Import Game

Importing, while a straightforward solution, is not without its trade-offs. On the one hand, imports help bridge the demand-supply gap, ensuring that the Nepalese population has access to essential nutrients. On the other hand, relying heavily on imports makes the country vulnerable to global market fluctuations. What if the primary soybean exporting countries face a drought or political unrest?

Moreover, importing in large quantities can strain Nepal’s foreign reserves. Is it sustainable in the long run? And what about the local farmers? If imports are cheaper, local production might suffer, leading to socio-economic challenges.

Challenges on the Horizon

Navigating the soybean trade and imports in 2023 hasn’t been a walk in the park for Nepal. The global soybean market has its own set of challenges. Prices have been volatile, influenced by climate change and geopolitical tensions.

Furthermore, ensuring the quality of imports is paramount. With soybeans being a dietary staple, any compromise on quality could have widespread health implications. How does Nepal ensure that the imported beans meet the required standards?

In Conclusion: A Bean’s Tale

The story of Nepal’s soybean trade and imports is not just about a bean. It’s a tale of a nation striving to provide for its people, of balancing local needs with global challenges, and of the intricate dance between demand and supply.

As we reflect on the first eight months of 2023, one thing is clear: the soybean saga in Nepal is a testament to the country’s resilience and adaptability. While challenges abound, Nepal’s soybean story can indeed have a golden future with the right strategies and a focus on sustainable growth.

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