Vegetables worth Rs 6.8 billion imported in last two months

KATHMANDU: Fruits and vegetables worth Rs 6.8 billion have been imported in the first two months of the current fiscal year, as per statistics maintained by Department of Customs (DoC).

Meanwhile, during the same period of last fiscal year vegetables worth Rs 5.44 billion had been imported. In the last fiscal year, vegetables worth Rs 33.57 billion had been imported during the entire year.

Despite being considered an agro-based country, Nepal always has to import vegetables worth billions of rupees. Moreover, the government has been claiming that the country is gradually becoming self-reliant in vegetables, however, imports have been rising every year. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic when the government has put restrictions on the import of so many products, vegetable import has still increased.

It is an irony that local vegetables do not get a market but at the same time vegetables worth billions of rupees are imported every year, especially from India. It has now become a recurring problem whereby farmers do not get a market for their produce and are also not able to transport vegetables to the market. As a result, most of the vegetables and fruits that they produce are going to waste and at times even rotting in the fields itself due to lack of buyers.

What is even more frustrating for the local farmers is that each year the government always makes promises to help them but does nothing substantial when the time comes. The government does not even have the exact data of the losses being faced by the farmers.

During the lockdown, the government had halted the import of vegetables and fruits from India among other countries. However, even during this period, farmers had to destroy their products due to lack of market. Agricultural production has been rising in the country, however, due to the negligence of the government in managing the products or a market, farmers have to bear heavy losses every year, said Navaraj Basnet, president of National Farmers Group Federation.

“The number of agriculture farms has increased this year and so has production,” he said, adding, “However, the COVID-19 has caused major problems for the newly started farms.”

“Meanwhile, small farmers are also gradually getting involved in commercial farming. However, due to lack of coordination from the government, local products are neither getting a market nor suitable price,” said Basnet, adding, “Thus, this always leads to the country importing vegetables from other nations.”

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday September 28, 2020, 06:22:31 PM |

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