HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government is planning to open 50 cooperative-run vegetable markets across the country aiming at reducing prices for consumers and benefiting farmers.
Ministry of Agriculture Development has decided to establish the vegetable markets to provide direct market access to the farmers.
The markets will be operated without middlemen, so farmers and consumers will get benefit, said secretary of the ministry Jayamukunda Khanal, here today.
Studies commissioned by the ministry had showed that middlemen were major beneficiaries in the vegetable trade.
They were found earning above 50 per cent of farmgate price in a short time from collection to selling
to wholesalers. “It will reduce vegetable price in market,” Khanal said.
The ministry has also planned to establish 10 pocket areas for vegetable farming to provide vegetables in the market. “Our officials have been working on it,” he said, adding that vegetable sold in the market will be pesticide and other chemical free.
The ministry is establishing 10 division offices of Department Food Technology and Quality Control in the areas, he added.
Similarly, Khanal informed that the ministry is studying feasibility of chemical fertiliser factory to establish one organic fertiliser
factory each in a development region.
“Feasibility of chemical fertiliser factory will complete by Poush end (mid-January),” Khanal said, adding that the government is also providing 50 per cent custom duty exemption in importing equipments for organic fertilisers.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had conducted first study on chemical fertiliser factory in 1986. The ministry is importing about 300,000 metric tonnes (MT) of chemical fertiliser worth Rs 8.52 billion. “We have imported about 110,000 MT chemical fertiliser till date for the current fiscal year,” he said.
According to managing director of Agriculture Inputs Company Shashiraj Tuladhar, the company has about 60,000 MT chemical fertiliser stock. “We are importing 60,000 MT in next four months and Indian government will supply 45,000 MT in quota,” he added.
In the meeting, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Krishnahari Baskota said that the government needs to help farmers with modern equipments and techniques. “We should provide subsidy in import of agriculture equipments like thresher, grader, harvester,” he said, adding that the government should bear 50 per cent interest paid for crops and livestock insurances.
The government has put agriculture sector in its top priority list. Nepal Rastra bank has also directed commercial banks to lend 10
per cent of the total loan portfolio in agriculture and energy sectors.
Similarly, the government has made at least 15 per cent investment from their budget in agriculture sector mandatory to local bodies.