CHITWAN, April 7: The nationwide lockdown enforced by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 has caused mixed impacts on agriculture sector of Chitwan. While vegetables farming is gradually recovering after the initial setback of the lockdown, poultry sector has suffered the most.
Samir Bhusal, a farmer of Amritnagar in Bharatpur Metrpolitan City Ward 25, said vegetables farmers in his area have not faced much impact as the government is allowing farmers to take their produce to the market even during the lockdown.
Bhusal has been sending vegetables produced in his farms to markets in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Butwal. “We are not finding much buyers in the local market. But traders are visiting our farms to buy seasonable vegetables like tomato, cauliflower, beans and chilli,” Bhusal said, adding: “However, small-time farmers, who largely depend on the local market, are suffering.”
Madhav Poudel, an information officer at the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project, told Republica that farmers were facing no problem to send their products to the market. “But with markets closed, they are facing difficulty to buy seeds and seedlings,” he said, adding: “Also, farmers growing paddy and wheat are suffering as they are not finding workers to harvest wheat and transplant paddy.”
FEED SHORTAGE HITS POULTRY SECTOR
Poultry farmers are facing shortage of feed for layers and broiler chicken. Also, they are not getting buyers for chicken and eggs.
Narayan Chalise, a poultry farmer of Bharatpur Metropolitan Ward 21, said he has nearly 5,000 market-ready chickens in his farm. “As we are not being able to send chickens to the market, we are facing cash flow problem. Dealers are denying us feed-in credit. We have nothing left to feed chicks,” he said. He added that local dealers, who previously used to provide them feed on credit, are now saying that they will entertain only cash transaction.
Another poultry farmer, Megh Bahadur Khadka, said feed dealers were providing them feed on credit previously and buying eggs from them. “Now they are neither buying eggs, nor giving us feed on credit,” he said, adding that many farmers have reduced the quantity of feed fed to chickens.
Meanwhile, Tej Narayan Pandey, president of Chitwan Nawalpur Feed Distributors Association, said distribution of feed has been tightened a bit due to shortage of raw materials. “We have reduced production of feed as we are not getting raw materials from India due to the lockdown,” he added.