Expo aims at helping in market promotion of kiwi fruits grown in Ilam
DHARAN, Dec 11: A two-day 'Ilam Kiwi Expo' is being organized in Dharan on December 19-20 for market promotion of kiwi fruits grown in Ilam and improving commercial ties between Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City and Ilam Municipality of Province 1.
Ilam Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) is organizing the event at Chhata Chowk. The two cities established friendly ties some two years ago.
Shree Bahadur Bista, secretary of ICCI, said the expo will have altogether 10 stalls. While seven stalls will showcase kiwis grown in Ilam, three stalls will products like ghee, green tea and lollipop. Jam, juice, pickle and candy, among others, made from kiwi fruits will be the main attraction at the expo, according to the organizers.
"People visiting the expo will get opportunity to taste kiwi fruits grown in Ilam free of cost. Those willing to buy will get the fruits at wholesale rate," Bista added.
The organizers are bringing 7 tons of kiwi fruits to Dharan for the expo. They hope to sell at least 70% of them. They plan to sell kiwi fruits at Rs 300 to raise Rs 2.1 million.
"We are expecting total sales of around Rs 2.5 million during the expo," Ganga Bista, an expert in kiwi farming in Ilam, said. "Kiwi fruits are ready for harvest in our farms. We will harvest them especially for the expo," he said, adding that the fruits will have 'Ilam Kiwi' stickers.
According to Bista, farmers of Ilam are showcasing Hayward species of kiwi, which is considered to be of good quality, at the expo. "This variety of kiwi fruits is generally imported from other countries. But we have started its farming in Ilam," Bista said, adding that they will showcase only Special and 'A' grade green kiwi fruits at the expo. "B and C grades of kiwi fruits will be sold in Ilam itself."
Krishna Shah, chairperson of Sunsari-Morang Ilameli Society, said farmers of Ilam will also hold discussions on kiwi farming with farmers of Wards 5 and 6 of Dharan Municipality. "We are hopeful that the expo and discussions with farmers will help in promotion of kiwi farming in Dharan," Shah added.
Ilam Municipality, Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project – Kiwi Zone Ilam, Sandukpur Rural Municipality, Sunsari Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Dharan Sub-metropolitan City are the co-organizers of the event.
According to Kiwi Zone Office, kiwi farming is done in 20,000 ropani of land in Ilam. Total annual production is around 100,000 kilograms. Kiwi farming can be done in areas between 1,200 to 2,400 meters above sea level.
Sandakpur Rural Municipality is the leader of kiwi farming in the district, followed by Ilam, Suryodaya, Mai, and Deumai municipalities, as well as Mansebung and Rong rural municipalities.
Commercial kiwi farming began in Ilam in 2008. More than 500 groups, cooperative and agriculture farms of kiwi farmers have been registered so far.
According to Bista, farmers can earn Rs 1.5-2 million annually by doing kiwi faring in 20 ropani. "Kathmandu is the biggest market for kiwi fruits grown in Ilam, followed by Birtamod (Jhapa) and Siliguri (India). We have also started getting orders from Hong Kong," he said.