Southeast University Conducts Needs Assessment on Agro-industrial Park Planning in Gurbhakot, Nepal

May 8, 2024 | Cities Clusters - Agriculture, Cities Project, News

Facilitated by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Cities Project, a team of experts from Southeast University (SEU) conducted a six-day demand-driven needs assessment and field survey on agro-industrial park planning in Gurbhakot, Nepal from 8 to 13 April 2024.

The UNOSSC Cities Project facilitated an online exchange among Southern cities on Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Gurbhakot Municipality in Nepal, recommended by the UNDP Office in Karnali Province, expressed interest and demands for developing an industrial park. In response, the Cities Project team reached out to relevant technical institution partners and were able to identify and mobilize expertise and in-kind support from SEU in China. SEU, renowned for urban planning, is a member institution of the China South-South Cooperation Network.

Subsequently, Gurbhakot authorities conducted a field study exchange to Nanjing City, China at the invitation of Nanjing local authorities in November 2023. After several online technical exchanges, Professor Wang Xingping, a state-certified urban planner and head of SEU’s Department of Urban Planning, led a team of experts including a Nepalese research associate and experts from Nanjing City and Qinghai Province to conduct a field needs assessment and feasibility study in Gurbhakot, aiming to conceptualize a small-scale Agro-Park.

On 8 April, the SEU delegation visited the UNDP Nepal Country Office in Kathmandu. The team had a meeting with UNDP Nepal. Mr. Vijaya Singh, Assistant Resident Representative, shared UNDP Nepal’s work focus and Professor Wang introduced the agricultural park planning demand expressed by local authority in Gurbhakot.

Additionally, the team held meetings with officials from the Nepalese government’s urban planning and Economic Zone development authorities to discuss management policies of urban and industrial park planning in Nepal. The team also visited the Kathmandu Center of China Academy of Sciences and exchanged with Director XU Tianli on international cooperation between China and Nepal in the field of geographical education.

Throughout their visit, the SEU delegation conducted extensive interviews with local government officials, residents, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders.

In consultation with over 40 representatives from provincial and municipal governments, and enterprises, the SEU team shared and discussed future development ideas for local agricultural industry. Mr. Dhan, an official from the Agricultural Bureau of Karnali Province, introduced the agricultural development plan for Gurbhakot.

The SEU team visited pivotal enterprises and facilities, including provincial hospitals, seed production cooperatives, vegetable production bases, milk production cooperatives, cold storage and trading markets, and buffalo breeding stations. They conducted in-depth interviews with local businesses and residents.

The team also visited farmers’ households to evaluate irrigation and energy facilities, inspected dragon fruit plantations to learn about local market status for dragon fruit cultivation, and visited women’s agricultural cooperatives to understand related preferential policies and achievements of agricultural mutual assistance cooperation.

To comprehensively assess the regional development landscape, the SEU team expanded their study to neighboring cities such as Birendranagar and Nepalgunj, examining the development background and conditions of the area.

Notably, challenges such as inadequate agricultural facilities, limited crop yields, low production efficiency, and poor transportation networks were identified as primary obstacles to development. Through these interactions and dialogues, the team accumulated rich first-hand research data, laying a solid foundation for further project development.