Potato farmers suffer due to lack of market

Bhawani Adhikari

Syangja, April 29:

Though Chapakot Suntalitar in the south of Syangja district is able to produce improved variety of potato, it has failed to find a good market for its produce. Chapakot Suntalitar is famous for potato production in the district. As a result, farmers have no option but to use unsold potatoes as compost fertilizer by decomposing them, former member of the DDC, Hari Prasad Pangeni, said. Chapakot Suntalitar has good irrigation facilities, fertile soil and good cultivation practices, but its agriculture produce lacks a reliable and substantial market, Pangeni complained. Every household here produces 10 to 20 quintals of potato. But farmers are not encouraged to take it to the market, as they do not receive satisfactory prices. Galyang market is 27 kms away where they get only Rs 5 per kg, farmers said. According to Bhesh Raj Acharya, a local farmer, potatoes, seasonal and off-seasonal vegetables cultivated over 200 hectares of land could not receive market this year.

He urged the government to make an arrangement of haat bazaar for the sake of marketing of fruits and vegetables, if the it is serious in maintaining in the well-being of the local farmers. Chief of the district agriculture development office, Muralidhar Mishra, however, says, transportation could be arranged if farmers ask for it. If proper arrangements for transporting agriculture produce from Chapakot Suntalitar could be made, it can make the whole district self-reliant in vegetables and grains, Mishra added. The 27 km long tunnel is built at a cost of Rs 120 million as loan assistance from the World Bank for irrigation facilities.

Under the project, 1,000 hectares of land has been irrigated with water brought from the Myagdi river. Of the 6,000 hectares of fertile land spread over Chapakot, Ratnapur, Kuwabot VDCs, only 1,000 hectares of land have irrigation facilities.