Untapped Potential in Nepal: A Modular Case Study Approach to the Nepalese Hemp Industry and its Position in the Global Value Chain

Nima Sophia Lama Tisdall & Martina Zemanov√°

Student thesis: Master thesis


s thesis investigates the Nepalese hemp industry and its position in the global value chain based on data obtained over four months of field research in Nepal. Leveraging a modular case study approach and combining it with qualitative data obtained by interviews, we first map the current state of the Nepalese hemp industry, with particular focus on the use of hemp in textile. Positioning the collected data into a global value chain theoretical framework, we uncover the underlying governance structures and power relations, which are then placed into the current legal framework both internationally and locally in Nepal. Secondly, we consider possible trajectories for upgrading and recommend avenues for change in order for Nepal to capture a larger amount of value in the global value chain. Our findings identify four nodes in the value chain of hemp in Nepal: first, villagers growing, collecting and processing the crop; second, middle men, who transport the processed yarn into larger cities; third, manufacturers and wholesalers, who weave the yarn into fabric and assemble the final products; and lastly, international retailers, who export the products abroad. This thesis pays special attention to the legal framework these actors are constrained by. The major legal powers we distinguish are the (1) legal framework, which imposes bargaining power on the (2) local Nepalese legislations. We uncover that in order for the legal framework to change in favor of cultivation of hemp, institutional or constitutive power is required from either international actors or the Nepalese diaspora network. Lastly, this thesis proposes avenues that warrant further research. Namely, other uses of hemp across different industries and the constraints the poor infrastructure in Nepal poses emposes on transportation of goods outside of the country.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages130
SupervisorsPeter Lund-Thomsen