Next Generation of Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Development

Next Generation of Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Development

To commemorate the 'International Youth Day which is observed on August 12, the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal featured "Ficus Bio-Tech" in their social media to celebrate their story.

Established in 2015 by a group of three young friends, Anuroop Manandhar, Durlav Karki, and Santosh Dahal, Ficus Bio-Tech is focused on plant tissue culture to produce commercially viable seeds, ensuring better harvest for farmers. Ficus applies a technology that is similar to cloning, mainly used for the mass production of quality plantlets and seedlings.

In a Nepalese society where it is common to seek a job after completion of studies, these youths challenged the stereotype and started working on a very nascent tissue culture industry, knowing that the field of biotech is at an early stage and a lot of work needs to be done to take the sector to new heights. Echoing the same sentiments as these youths, One To Watch invested in Ficus in 2017. Since then, OTW has been adding value by providing strategic and financial advisory support to Ficus.

In 2016, Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) conceptualized and implemented a project named ‘Sahaj’(Nepali word for 'facilitate' or 'to make it easier'). The project aimed to increase farmer's income by integrating them into commercial agriculture markets and networks. In October 2019, Ficus in association with Sahaj project; led a program for farmers in Jhapa, where Ficus educated the farmers about the benefits of the tissue culture. In addition, SDC supported Ficus to access these virus-free seeds.

Ficus is a pioneer in tissue culture in Nepal. The majority of Nepal’s agricultural produce is obtained by using traditional farming methods. However, Ficus is bringing new innovative technology to improve farmers’ agricultural yield. The effort of Ficus is admirable, especially at a time when people in Nepal are leaving farming as their occupation for better opportunities outside the country. The team at Ficus Biotech is optimistic to contribute to the sector by providing quality plantlets to the farmers. By doing this, Ficus aims to develop professional agricultural technologies in Nepal, ultimately helping the farmers to increase the quantity and quality of their produce with the help of biotechnology.