Vegetables, fruits rot in absence of cold storage

Chandra Luitel

Kathmandu, May 18:

Tonnes of vegetables and fruits rot each day as there are no cold storage facilities at the Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market (KFVM), the capital’s largest wholesale market. The situation worsened in the past week as the mercury shot up. Radhika Adhikari, who hails from Nuwakot, sells vegetables in the market. At four in the morning she buys vegetables that come from Thimi. “I am forced to throw half of the vegetables (especially spinach, cauliflowers, carrots) as there is no storage facility,” she said. Most of the green vegetables look stale. The consumers do not have any choice. “Look at this vegetable, does it look fresh?” asked Shyam Chauhan, a resident of Chhauni.

Dharke of Dhading is the prime centre from where the vegetables are brought. It takes five to six hours to reach the Valley and during bandhs the vegetables turn stale before they reach the market. “We are helpless,” accepts Bishnu Dutta Awasthi, director of KFVM. This problem has been there since the market was established in 1987. The members of the market management committee are aware of the problem. They claim that it is a wholesale market and vegetables and fruits are not supposed to remain here for long periods. “The market is not meant for storing vegetables but for consumption the same day,” said Awasthi. The only cold storage facility in the market is used for storing fish which is not preferred by most of the fishwalas. Binay Shrestha, planning officer of the KFVM says, “The fishwalas have recently shifted and we are confident that they will start using it.” Whatever the reasons, it is necessary that the concerned authorities take steps to preserve the nutrients of the vegetables, says Ram Mangol, a social activist.