Tomato farmers unable to get fair price


By Our Correspondent,Sarlahi, Jan. 31: Farmers of Sarlahi have been worried as the price of tomatoes is too low.

With the increase in the supply of Indian tomatoes in huge quantities in the market, the tomatoes produced by the farmers here have stopped finding the market. 

Farmers are selling tomatoes for 

Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 per crate. One crate contains 25 kg of tomatoes.

Basanta Kumar Dumjan, a farmer of Shikari village, Hariwan Municipality-2, complained that it was difficult to recover even production cost as tomatoes had to be sold at Rs. 6 to Rs. 8 per kg.

"In the beginning, we sold a crate of tomatoes for up to Rs. 1,200, but now we have to sell them for Rs. 150," Dumjan said.

With the arrival of Indian tomatoes in the country's main market Lalbandi from where large amount of vegetables are supplied to other cities, the farmers have been facing problems to sell tomatoes.

Prem Shrestha of Tulsi village, Lalbandi Municipality-10 said that he is having problems selling tomatoes.

"Selling tomato for Rs. 150 per crate won’t recover our cost and labour. Even at this rate traders are not buying," said Shrestha.

Charitra Kushwaha, a farmer of Lalbandi Municipality-1, Nawalpur, said that although it is time to pick and sell tomatoes cultivated in around 10 katthas of land, when tomatoes are brought to the market, the traders refuse to buy them.

"Traders are not willing to buy our tomatoes saying that Indian tomatoes are available in the market at a cheaper rate than the local ones," Kushwaha said.

Since the tomatoes get damaged if they are not sold immediately, the farmers are forced to sell them as per the price of traders.

Lately, farmers have been hit harder when middlemen are active.

Toran Bahadur Magar, a businessman who is also the chairman of Lalbandi Agricultural Wholesale Vegetable Market Management Committee, said that Indian tomatoes are coming in the market and because it is the mid-season of tomato production, the tomatoes grown here are not getting the proper price.

"There are a lot of Indian tomatoes in the market now, here too, tomatoes have grown a lot, so the farmers have not been able to get the price," Magar said.

In Sarlahi, there is commercial farming of tomatoes in Lalbandi, Ranigunj, Pattharkot, Chandrapur, Hirapur, Nawalpur, Atrauli, Sasapur and other areas in the northern part.

Daily around 25 to 30 tonnes of tomatoes are being supplied to Kalimati of Kathmandu and other major markets of the country from Lalbandi.  

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