By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, Apr. 18: Ghee produced by state-owned Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) is gaining popularity in Japan. DDC brand ghee, which started being exported to Japan from August 2020, has so far reached 33 tonnes, said Rudra Prasad Poudel, general manager of DDC. Japanese traders buy DDC ghee by contacting Nepali traders, he said, adding that around 4-5 tonnes of ghee is being exported every month. The DDC has a target to export additional 12 tonnes of ghee during the current fiscal year. A Nepali exporting company -- Himalayan Tranquility Private Limited -- is exporting ghee to Japan. “DDC’s ghee is becoming famous among the Japanese consumers. The demand is likely to increase in the days to come,” Poudel told The Rising Nepal. The ghee export to Japan started after the Japanese traders came to Nepal and inspected the DDC factory and the production process and quality. After the Department of Food, Technology and Quality Control certified the quality, Japanese traders are ready to take the ghee. “We are in a position to supply around 200 tonnes of ghee annually if we receive order from the importers,” he said. He said that it was the first commercial export of DDC’s ghee. At present, DDC has 400 tonnes of ghee in stock. Out of this, about 50 per cent ghee is consumed in the domestic market, Poudel said. Demand for ghee is high during the festivals, including Dashain and Tihar compared to normal times. Currently, DDC has been supplying ghee to supermarkets, Bhat Bhateni, Bigmart and other outlets for sale. However, DDC is yet to supply ghee to the local shops inside and outside Kathmandu Valley, he said. Sushma Sharma, managing director of Himalayan Tranquility, said that demand for DDC brand ghee is growing in Japan lately. “Japanese are interested to consume Nepali ghee due to best quality. We are promoting ghee in Japan with the coordination of Japanese importers, resulting in increased demand for ghee there,” she said. She, however, said that the increased cases of COVID-19 across the world had been affecting ghee supply because the Japanese importers are not interested to purchase the ghee due to the fear of COVID-19. “We exported up to 10,000 kgs of ghee at one time to Japan and exported about 33 tonnes so far. We can export up to 50 tonnes of ghee to Japan annually if DDC provides ghee with quality packaging as packaging is a must to extend the consumption time of any goods,” she said. She added that they had suggested the DDC to change the packaging for securing the quality based on feedback received from the Japanese importers. She informed that she had been working to export DDC ghee to other countries, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their plans to export ghee and other food items in the international market. The Himalayan Tranquility is exporting various food products, including ghee, bitten rice and lentils to Japan and other international markets. Sanjeev Jha, head of planning and market management department of DDC, said that they were working for ghee packaging as per the demand of buyers. DDC is selling ghee at Rs. 830 per kg to Nepali exporters’ company. DDC is supplying ghee with separate labeling ‘DDC ghee for Japan export’, Jha said. Ghee worth around Rs. 27 million has been exported to Japan. “We have to focus on quality packaging for export because it takes almost one and a halfmonths for Nepali goods to reach Japan. So we are planning to package ghee in tin instead of existing plastic jar packaging,” he said. He said that the DDC has been producing ghee and powdered milk in large quantity from lockdown due to reduced milk consumption. The DDC is collecting around 120,000 litres of milk daily. Of the total collection, 100,000 litres of milk is being consumed daily. The remaining milk is being used for making powdered milk and ghee.