Kathmandu,3 Dec,2014: Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation, Mahesh Acharya, has said that the government has been making preparation for the amendment of the Forest Policy to make the forest products as the basis of country’s prosperity.
At the ‘National Dialogue on Draft Forest Policy (2014-2035): Opportunity and Challenge for the Implementation’ organised by the Nepal Law Society here today, Minister Acharya expressed the view that it was necessary to create awareness to protect forests.
He said, “We can make a heavy income and create employment from forest sector. It is necessary to pay attention towards the managerial improvement, infrastructure development and capacity building for the development of the sector.”
Stating that it was necessary to link forest and land with the campaign of environment protection, Minister Acharya said participation of the private sector was a must for establishing nurseries, sapling plantation, establishing industries related to timber and its import.
The Minister for Forest said that it was necessary to expand forest area to reduce impacts of climate change and expressed the belief that the proposed policy would help increase forest products and their quality.
On the occasion, it was informed that the country collects more than Rs 3 billion as revenue every year from forest products.
Majority of people in the country are directly dependent on the forest and it is the main source of income generation.
So far the management of 1,965,000 hectares of forest area has been handed over to 29,500 communities. Similarly, 23.33 per cent area of the country is covered by protected areas established with the objective of protecting and preserving the rare and endangered flora and fauna, various ecosystems and the biodiversity.
However, the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation stated that some 100,000 hectares of forest area has been encroached upon in the Terai and the Innner Terai region in the last 25 years. The government has declared the decade from 2071 BS to 2080 BS as the Forest Decade with the objective of sensitizing the general public about the importance of forest and its conservation and to engage them in the conservation campaign.
Experts say that although the forestry sector has the potential of making significant contribution to the national economy, the country could not get the expected results from this sector as stress was laid on the protection of forests rather than on its maximum utilization in the past.
Executive Director of NLS, the organising body, Krishna Man Pradhan,Â Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Krishna Acharya and representative of the USAIFÂ Judy Oglethorpe opined that the forest sector of the country could be developed into the main source of incomeÂ and the basis for national prosperity.
They said the new forest policy was needed to provide policy guidelines in the forestry sector for the coming 20 years.
CA members, experts in the forestry sector, representatives of the government and non-government organisations working in the sector and the representatives of the local communities working closely with the community, leasehold and protected forest sectors participated in the National Dialogue.