Lockdown Impact: Ground Zero from Panchthar

Farmers find it hard to sell their products

Published On: April 11, 2020 02:57 PM NPT By: Giriraj Baskota

PANCHTHAR, April 11: Chudamani Kafle, a farmer from Phidim-2, Samdi was found to have been working at his vegetable field. He was desperate to sell his cabbages, which are ready to be harvested. But finding a customer for sale has been difficult for him these days due to lockdown enforced nationwide as an attempt to control the spread of global pandemic of novel coronavirus.

“Hotel, restaurant and food outlets are shut. That’s why cabbage of this season is hardly sold,” he lamented adding, “Even the cattle are fed up with eating this vegetable.”

“Cabbage was growing as expected. It was almost ready to be picked and dispatched. I had expected to make a good sum. However, lockdown was imposed and order was broken.”

Not only cabbage, other veggies including spinach, coriander leaves, radish, peas and mushroom are also not getting sold owing to lockdown, according to him.

This is also the season of pumpkin and cucumber, and we are in despair, he added.

Although local administration has allowed them to supply their products to the market, there are very few people to buy them. “At first, there are few people in bazaars and most of them don’t come out of their houses,” Kafle said adding that people had left for their hometowns.

As we walked along, we met another farmer Nanda Kumar Dhungana at his own field at Arkhaule. He also shared similar problem. He said,  “I couldn't sell even a bunch of spinach. Radish has a similar fate.” He kept on saying, “Due to corona fear, we are also afraid of walking up to market.” He had to destroy his mushroom product.

According to Dhungana, they used to sell vegetables worth Rs 7000 a week. “Nevertheless, we wish that COVID-19 fears will soon fade up,” he added.

Farmers say this problem is prevailing because of lack of cold storage facility. “Had we had cold storage, we would not have faced any issue.”

Farmers, however, are able to sell their offseason products such as tomatoes from their fields.

Amid uncertainty and fear, farmers, however, are preparing for another season of plantation. “Let’s hope for better for next time,” one of them said adding that they can do nothing against such a natural tragedy.  At the same time, they have several other problems including unavailability of seeds, fertilizers and fuel for tractors to plough their fields.

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