Wheat seed crunch hits Saptari farmers

Rajbiraj, December 14

Shortage of wheat seeds has hit farmers in Saptari hard.

Farmers visit Rajbiraj-based Agriculture Knowledge Centre for wheat seeds on a daily basis, but are compelled to return empty handed.

Agriculture Knowledge Centre Rajbiraj Chief Bhagirath Yadav said the provincial government had issued a directive to procure wheat seeds around 20 days ago, but it had failed to procure the seeds on time.

According to Yadav, Salt Trading Corporation failed to supply seed despite agreement to supply 230 metric tonnes of seed earlier. “Salt Trading provided just 105 metric tonnes of seeds and it has to be distributed to farmers both in Siraha and Saptari,” Yadav added.

Centre and Salt Trading Corporation are distributing wheat seeds through a dealer in Saptari. Only 60 tonnes of seeds from the centre and 106.24 tonnes from salt trading have been distributed in the district so far.

According to knowledge centre, Saptari requires 700 metric tonnes of the wheat seed.  The district is short of 550 tons of wheat seeds right now.

Farmers are not getting wheat seed even if they pay three times the original price. STC sells per sack of wheat seed at the cost of Rs 2,620, while Agriculture Knowledge Centre sells per sack of the seed at the cost of Rs 1,572. Farmers, however, are forced to pay more than Rs 4,000 for a sack of wheat seeds in the market.

District Supply Committee Coordinator and Saptari Chief District Officer Surendra Poudel said his office had written to the local levels to control black marketing of wheat seeds.