By Our Correspondent Urlabari, June 25: Farmers in Morang used to feed ripe pumpkins to cows and buffaloes until a few years ago. But now they are making money by selling them to traders and industries. They said they are producing pumpkins worth Rs. 40,000 per bigha.
Farmers said that the pumpkins they sowed in the month of March together with maize have been a source of good income. Moreover, they do not have to take the pumpkins to market, traders themselves arrive in the village to purchase the ripe pumpkins.
Bhudev Singh Tamang of Kanepokhari-6, Bargachhi in Morang, has sold pumpkins worth Rs. 17,500 this year. Tamang, who had sold pumpkins worth Rs 10,000 last year, said that the production as well as price went up this year.
“I planted pumpkin in six kattha of my maize field last year. This year, I planted it in around 10 katthas,” he said. Not only Bhudev Singh, but most of the farmers in Kanepokhari Ward Nos 6 and 7 plant pumpkins in their maize fields.
Another farmer, Bhim Bahadur Tamang, said that in the past, pumpkins were used to feed pigs, cows and buffaloes, but now the farmers sell them. He said that he sold pumpkins worth Rs. 10,000 this year.
Another farmer, Khadga Prasad Phuyal, sold pumpkins worth Rs. 4,500 for the first time this year. Traders from big markets like Itahari, Biratnagar and Birtamod reach the village with vehicles to collect the pumpkins.
"We give it to the food suppliers," said Santosh Sahani, a pumpkin buyer. According to Sahani, the suppliers have been selling the pumpkins in the industrial area, police and army barracks.
Four traders, including Sahani, have already bought pumpkins worth Rs. 1 million from the farmers of Kanepokhari this year.
Pumpkin is mostly used for vegetable purposes. However, some industries also buy pumpkins to produce juice.
He said that he sold pumpkins to the juice-producing industries.