Mandi can benefit farmers

Bara, May 29:

Setting up of mandi (food grain collection and buying-selling points) at major centres in Tarai like Bara and Chitwan can help farmers get the better price for their crops.

On one hand, customers are paying high price for food grains in the market but the farmers, on the other hand, are compelled to sell their agri-produce at a low price offered by the middlemen.

“The middlemen take a large chunk from our profits as they fix the price,” complains Chandrika Raut, a farmer of Mangadhawa, Motiswar VDC in Bara. Transportation problem has forced the farmers to sell agri-produce at home at a very low price as they all could not go to the market directly.

“We could get benefit, if we could take the grains to the market or factory directly,” Ram Lakhan, another farmer, says, adding that the price of maize is higher in the market this year in comparison to last year but the farmers are getting lower price than last year.

“The solution could be setting up of well-equipped and well-managed mandis — where the farmers can take their agri-produce and store it until they sell at their own price — at various districts,” suggests Jagdish Prasad Agrawal, managing director of Pro Bio-Tech Industries Pvt Ltd. “If it can be done, the middlemen will slowly disappear. “Private sector is ready to set up such collection centres that will benefit farmers and businessmen, both,” he adds.

Nepal can get comparative advantage in the agriculture produces despite government’s apathy towards the farmers and agriculture sector. “Without proper irrigation and technical know-how, our national production average is around two per cent,” Dr Dinesh Gautam, technical manager of the Pro Bio-Tech Industries, says, adding that if the farmers are well-monitored by the technical officers, the production can be easily doubled. “With proper irrigation facility, avaibility of fertilizer on time and technical know-how, the yield could be doubled,” says Balram Pudasaini, a farmer at Banjara VDC in Bara. “But we have not seen the face of a JTA in last fifteen years. How can a farmer increase the output,” he says lamenting the government policy.