Promoting Nepali agrifood products to the European Union
For Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day 2023, we celebrate small entrepreneurs from all over the world. Small businesses account for 90% of the world's businesses, 60 to 70% of employment, and 50% of the global economy. They contribute to local and national economies and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rohan Maharjan participated in two ITC workshops in 2022 to learn how to explore international markets to export his products. Rohan, aged 26, was among 18 people attending the workshops in Kathmandu. A business enthusiast, Rohan has benefited from learning to search market information for his company’s agro-based products. He’s also shared his new knowledge with his colleagues.
Tell us about your company
My company ‘Farm to Fingers’ was established in 2016, focusing on marketing and branding of agro-based Nepali typical exportable products. The firm has been branding and exporting indigenous products that include walnuts, Timur pepper, Mustang apples, beans, Marsi rice, black cardamom, turmeric powder, kiwi fruits, Junar sweet oranges, Kalanamak rice, honey, and ginger products to European countries.
What are the challenges you have witnessed in your business?
My firm is based on agricultural products. It is challenging to maintain the quality of our products due to inconsistency in the quality farmers’ agro-products. Farmers don’t know how significant quality consistency is for international markets. Getting quality products in the required quantity from farmers is our topmost challenge.
What are your needs for further growth?
We spend a lot of time on documentation and approvals for exports to international markets. We need a simplified process that saves time and money, so we can focus on branding and marketing. We also need an internationally accredited laboratory within the country. Currently we have to send samples to India for quality testing and certification.
What is your best success?
I fully utilize the knowledge from the workshops to promote my products in the international markets. I learned about the ePing platform which shares information on product requirements using data compiled by the World Trade Organization.
This source gives us monthly information on the international market, such as protocols and requirements of importing countries, prices, and documents required for exports. Now I am using what I learned to promote my business. I would like to thank ITC for granting me the opportunity to expand my knowledge. Now farmers are linked with the international markets through my firm, which collects products from them, carries out branding and marketing, and exports them.
What is your message to other small entrepreneurs?
I would suggest to young entrepreneurs like me that you focus on consistency in the quality of your products to earn the confidence of international buyers. I also recommend that exporters use modern tools of market information to get themselves regularly updated about international market trends. Farmers will be encouraged to grow more if we link them with markets offering better prices.