Kathmandu, September 8
The Federation of Fruits and Vegetable Entrepreneurs Nepal (FEFVEN) has threatened to halt supply if the government further delays in developing and regulating the market through a separate law.
Organising a press meet here today, FEFVEN has asked the government to table the Agro Market Development and Management Bill in the Parliament at the earliest.
The existing system of operating agriculture market is not practical, said Khom Prasad Ghimire, president of FEFVEN.
Currently, the agro markets developed by the government are being operated by a development committee, chaired by government officials and comprising representatives of wholesale traders of the same market and representatives of the producers selected by Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD).
Ghimire argued that the government should award the management of the agro market based on auction. “And the agro market should meet all the required standards as provisioned by the draft bill that has not been tabled in the Parliament despite it being framed a long time back,” he stated.
FEFVEN has threatened to halt the supply of fruits and vegetables if the government forcefully removes the agro markets from New Baneshwor (land owned by Citizen Investment Trust) and Tukucha (land owned by Social Welfare Council) without first providing an option to relocate the markets.
Agro Market Development and Management Bill, which FEFVEN has been demanding to be tabled at the Parliament, has proposed intensive participation of private sector in development and management of agricultural markets.
The draft bill has provisioned incentives to the private sector for agro market development in specific areas. Development of agro markets will ensure income sources for the farmers.
The draft bill has specified the role of private sector in market development and management of the government-owned markets and also paved the way to develop agro markets under public-private partnership.
The draft bill has ensured participation of agriculture cooperatives and farmers’ groups, especially in wholesale markets. The wholesale markets would need to provide 25 per cent of the stalls to the cooperatives and farmers’ groups. The draft bill has also identified role of private sector in capacity building of local farmers for operation of local weekly markets and development of collection centres.
Currently, the government has been operating wholesale markets through Agro Market Management and Development Directive.
The bill has also set the standards for the agro market. Wholesale agro markets should mandatorily have sheds and stalls, price information display mechanism, road access, parking and proper facility of water and sanitation, among others. Specifically, the bill has provisioned timely inspection of weighing machines and pest control of agro products. The draft bill has provisioned separate stalls for the products harvested from Integrated Pest Management (IPM) area and organic products, with at least one stall for each category.
The draft bill has also provisioned mandatory registration of wholesale market at Agribusiness Promotion and Marketing Development Directorate. Similarly, agro collection centres, local weekly markets and agro retail markets should be registered at the District Development Committee.
A version of this article appears in print on September 09, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.