Farmers lose millions due to bandh

Raj Kumar Parajuli

Kavre, May 21:

Farmers in Kavre district have suffered losses running into millions of rupees due to recurrent bandhs in the country. The district is a leader in milk supply in the valley and 30 per cent of the vegetables in the capital are supplied from there. The three-day long bandh called by the Maoists has rendered milk and vegetables useless in the area. On one hand, farmers are bearing the brunt of a drop in milk price declared by the Dairy Development Corporation, on the other they have milk holiday to reckon with. With this, farmers said that they have become wary of dairy farming.

Moreover, the Maoists ban in the district for the past two weeks has also left tonnes of vegetable rotten and wasted. Farmers who started commercial vegetable farming and dairy farming after getting loans from the Agriculture Development Bank have been the hardest hit.

A statistics showed that being the foremost milk producer in the country, 0.135 million litres of milk is produced in the district daily. Farmers complained that recurrent price drops in milk either by DDC or private dairy farms have made them unable to raise their investment.

Ram Prasad Dahal of Nala, who has been in commercial buffalo farming for the past 18 years, said, "Around 35 litres of milk is produced in my home daily. Three days of bandh means more than 100 litres of milk. What would I do with it?"

"Maoists have damaged the infrastructure of the country and now they are working towards killing us. For poor farmers like us, bandhs come as a curse," lamented another farmer.

These farmers have been sandwiched between Nepal bandhs and strikes on one side and curfew in the district on the other. They can take milk for sale only during morning hours. At times, milk curdles up before farmers are able to sell them off. Hundreds of people have been earning their living by carrying milk cans for which they used to get paid Rs 100 a day. A porter who carries milk cans said, "You can imagine our plight during bandhs when we do not have any work or money." He questioned, "What effect would it have on the rich and mighty?" The farmers opined that bandhs should be called off once and for all for the benefits of all farmers.