Itahari, August 17:

The transport strike in the eastern region for the past six days has left banana farmers in the lurch, with their produce starting to rot in the fields.

Bananas produced in hotbeds — Dangihat, Duldari, Haraicha, Mrigauliya, Belbari, Sundarpur, Pathari in Morang district and Bhokraha, Paschim Kusaha, Madhuban, Haripur and other areas in Sunsari district — have started rotting, farmer Dhan Bahadur Khatri said.

Against the backdrop of shipment of 10-20 trucks of plantations to Kathmandu and western parts of the country, not a single truckload of plantains has reached there ever since the strike began, he said adding that the consignments of bananas have begun rotting in storage rooms. Some farmers are now girding up to distil alcohol from the rotted bananas.

In Sunsari, Alauddin Miya of Bhokraha VDC has a banana farm on 15 bighas of land. He said he was unable to sell the produce because of the transport strike.

Meanwhile, Khatri said that banana farmers had managed to earn more than Rs 30 million from the sale of their produce last season. He added the strike had all but destroyed the banana farmers financially.