DHANKUTA, August 15: Vegetables farmers and traders in hilly districts of Koshi zone are suffering loss of as much as Rs 10 million on a daily basis as they have not been able to export their vegetables after floods and landslides damaged different sections of Koshi Highway on Saturday.
Landslide caused by heavy rainfall since Sunday morning has washed away road section near Nishane River of Koshi Highway. As the road has not been cleared yet, farmers and traders are suffering huge less.
Farmers and traders of the zone used to export vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, beans and chilies to markets in several Tarai districts as well as India.
Sidhuwa Multipurpose Cooperative, which has been collecting vegetables from farmers and send them to markets in several Tarai district as well as India, alone used to sell vegetables worth Rs 1 million on a daily basis. Meghendra Gurung, manager of the cooperative, said that vegetables collected from farmers have started to rot. The cooperative buys vegetables from farmers in Dhankuta and Terathum districts.
Similarly, Dhankuta-based Guthitar Vegetables Collection Center had been exporting tomatoes worth Rs 500,000 on a daily basis before the landslide damaged the highway on Saturday.
Dhananjay Chapagain, a farmer from Dhankuta Municipality, said that farmers like him will have to face huge loss if the road is not repaired very soon.
Not only vegetables, farmers have also not been able to send milk to the market. Local farmers used to send milk to Biratnagar, Tarahara as well as market places in Terathum. “As local chilling centers have limited capacity, milk worth around Rs 600,000 produced in Terathum and Dhankuta districts is going to waste every day,” Bhim Mahatara, manager of Sagarmatha Milk Cold Storage, told Republica.
According to Sankhuwasabha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local farmers are facing loss of around Rs 1.5 million every day. “Agro products decay faster. Local farmers will have to face huge loss if the road is not brought into operation at the earliest,” an official of the chamber told Republica.
Likewise, Ananta Kumar Shestha, a herb trader, say that disruption in vehicular movement has also affected export of different medicinal herbs.
Koshi Highway is the only road that connects four districts of Koshi zone - Dhankuta, Terathum, Dhankhuta and Bhojpur - with rest of the country.
Farmers of Terathum and Bhojpur districts used to export agro products worth Rs 2.5 million. But export has come to a halt since landslide swept away the road near Nishane River. Agro products like cabbage, potato, ginger and cardamom are produced in large quantity in these districts.