Lack of technicians in high-tech greenhouses in Kaski hits output

Kaski, May 12

Aiming to become self-sufficient in vegetables the government had introduced high-tech greenhouse technology in the country under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project (PMAMP). Although the technology has been successful in developed countries, the high-tech greenhouses in Nepal have failed to give fullfledged output due to lack of technicians. Farmers in Kaski district have expressed their dissatisfaction towards the project for not having technicians.

“Due to lack of technical support and technicians we are not being able to grow the desired quantity of vegetables that we could with the help of this technology,” said Kebal Bahadur Gautam, owner of Kham Ghale Agro Farm, in Malepatan, Kaski. For the last two years he has been producing Japanese cucumbers, spinach, green beans and tomatoes.

As per Gautam, PMAMP has provided two technicians for his farm, however, the irresponsible behaviour of the technicians has driven his business to a loss. “There is no problem with the market but due to lack of technical support we are not being able to grow vegetables as per market demand,” he said.

“Earlier, government officials had come to us and informed about the new technology and its success in foreign countries,”

Gautam said, adding, “Being fascinated with the new technology we adopted it but now we are not even able to solve small problems of our greenhouses.”

The trend of deploying technicians after bringing in technology has affected the farmers.

“The government should have first brought technicians and conducted a feasibility study but we have a trend of learning by doing which is hurting the development process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shalikram Bastola, owner of Hemja Agro Farm, in Hemja, Kaski, is also facing a similar problem. “The major feature of a high-tech greenhouse is to maintain temperature suitable for vegetables.

With this we can grow vegetables even during off-season,” he told The Himalayan Times.

However, since they have not been able to resolve the technical problems his produces are going to waste. “PMAMP had provided a few days of technical training to farmers which is not enough,” said Bastola, adding, “At least they could have provided experts and skilled technicians.”

The failure to maintain necessary temperature inside the greenhouse during different weather conditions is affecting vegetable production, he stated.

“Technicians come and go but the problem remains the same,” he said, adding, “The government itself is facing a loss with this technology after not being able to recover its investment.”

It costs Rs 750 million to Rs 800 million to build one high-tech greenhouse. It automatically carries out heating, cooling and irrigation as per the necessity of vegetables.

Meanwhile, Basanta Kumar Shrestha, senior agriculture officer of PMAMP, claimed that they are having discussions over this issue and the problem will soon be resolved.

As per Department of Customs, vegetables are the most imported agricultural products in the country. With a target of developing the agricultural sector of the country, the government had implemented PMAMP on January 10, 2017.