In 2018, PTB and its project counterparts in Nepal decided to apply the CALIDENA approach in the milk and dairy sector with a specific regional focus on the midwestern region, particularly Province 5. The key event of the CALIDENA process, the CALIDENA Diagnosis Workshop, took place in early October 2018 in Nepalgunj, co-facilitated by Christian Schoen, Mesopartner. The workshop was organized jointly with the National Association of Dairy Industries (DIA) in cooperation with the national food authority (Department of Food Technology & Quality Control).

A key conclusion from the CALIDENA workshop was that the milk and dairy sector is more complex than previously assumed, for reasons of power structures (a powerful state-owned dairy company is de facto setting a price ceiling for milk in Nepal), of consumer preferences (customers are willing to pay higher prices for non-processed milk) and of trading patterns (uncontrolled milk is constantly crossing the border from India in large amounts and at low prices). Those and a variety of other shortcomings compromising the quality of milk and dairy products in Nepal are addressed by the CALIDENA action plan resulting from the Diagnosis Workshop. Different champions committed to coordinating the implementation of different activities as part of the plan.

CALIDENA showed again to be an excellent tool for value chain diagnosis, awareness raising and network building from a Quality Infrastructure perspective. Similarly, Calidena has proved to be a very flexible instrument when it comes to adjusting the moderation flow to local circumstances and constraints. In addition, the participants appreciated the mix of presentations, company visits and group work, and the possibility for interaction and open discussion between different actors. This was the second CALIDENA exercise implemented by PTB in Nepal. The first one (2015-2017) focused on medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) and generated a variety of expected and unexpected positive results.