Fish imports from India hits local farmers

Jhapa, June 16

Import of fish in huge quantities from India has hit fish farmers hard in Jhapa.

Nepali fish farmers say they are facing difficulty competing in the market as fish imported from India are much cheaper than Nepali fish. Dead fish are imported via Jhapa’s Kakadvitta, Bhadrapur and other border points. Such fish are supplied to hilly districts in the east.

According to transporter Sudip Chaurasiya, dead fish imported in cartoons are supplied to the markets in different places of the country.

“Nepali traders demand dead fish as they make huge profit out of it,” Chaurasiya said. He said that he brought 2,000 kg fish imported from India a daily basis.

Dead fish are openly imported due to lack of security check at the border point. “Consumers do not care about the quality. They just care about the price,” said Tara Sitaula, a local. According to Sitaula, sale of dead fish is higher than that of live fish in Jhapa.

Technicians at Livestock Quarantine Check Post in Kakadvitta easily give permission for import of such fish.

Fish farmer Khem Baral at Jhapa’s Buttabari said local fish failed to get market due to the import of cheap fish from India. “One kg dead fish from India costs anything from Rs 180 to Rs 200 while local fish costs Rs 400 to 700 per kg,” Baral said, adding that despite the government ‘s efforts to promote fish farming in the country, import of fish from India had hit the local farmers hard.

District Agriculture Development Office, Jhapa, stated that fish from India fulfilled 60 per cent of the demand for fish in Nepal. Jhapa produces up to 1,080 tonnes of fish in a year.