Vegetables worth millions rotting in farms amid lockdown in Dhading

DHADING: Vegetables worth millions of rupees have started to rot in the fields in the district following phase-wise extension of coronavirus-lockdown.

"Due to movement restrictions, we have been unable to transport the vegetables to the market, informed Muktinath Khatiwada, a local farmer of Jyamirekhola in  Galchhi Rural Municipality, adding that the vegetables have started to spoil now.

Before the lockdown, after the farmers harvested the produces, all they had to do was to transport their harvest to the Adamghat, from where buyers would take them. However, no traders have come to buy their produce, nor do they own any means to ferry their produces to Kathmandu, Khatiwada lamented.

This lockdown is likey to burden many of the farmers like him with debt, said another farmer Binod Katiwada.

Although the government has not halted transportation of vegetables, which categorises as essential supplies, local authorities and private organisations have restricted the farmers from transporting vegetables produced in the district, claimed farmers.

According to Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board, as many as 20 trucks of vegetables used to enter Kathmandu on a daily basis from Dhading prior to the lockdown.

Dhading contributes a total of 31 per cent of vegetables' supply to Kathmandu, informed Gita prasad Acharya, vice-president of Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Entrepreneurs.

Various farms occupying thousands of ropanis in Siddalekh, Galchhi, Benighat Rorang rural municipalities have left vegetables to rot in the fields while consumers are facing shortage of fresh vegetables.

According to Dhading Agricultural Knowledge Centre's statistics, 622 hector of land is being used for commercial farming in the district.