KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 14 Paddy harvesting has begun across the country, however the farmers are not getting the support price for the crop set by the government. Aiming to encourage farmers, the government had set the support price for paddy on June 16. Back then, the government had set the minimum support price of Rs 27.35 per kg for thick-sized paddy and Rs 28.85 per kg for thin-sized paddy. However, the farmers have been complaining that they are not getting the rates set by the government. “We were so happy when the government had set the minimum support price for paddy. However, we have been forced to sell our harvest at a much lower rate,” said Navaraj Basnet, president of National Farmers’ Group Federation (NFGF). According to him, the rice mills are only paying Rs 22 per kg for both types of paddy. “The farmers are busy harvesting paddy but they are not getting suitable price for their produce,” he said, “We did not get fertilisers on time during plantation and now we are not getting the deserving price for our produce.” He further reminded that the government had announced it would establish retail markets in all local levels for the marketing of local products. “While announcing the budget for the current fiscal year, the government had promised to arrange 78 agriculture retail markets in local levels, however no initiative in this regard has been taken yet,” he said, “And farmers are forced to sell rice for less price.” He further claimed that most of the farmers are not even aware about the minimum support price set by the government. “If the farmers do not sell their paddy at the price offered by the traders, the latter would simply import from India,” he added. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) has claimed that it will be looking into this issue. The government has expected the paddy production to increase this year on the back of timely completion of plantation and favourable monsoon. However, in lack of fertilisers, farmers have said that the production might get affected.