Vegetable traders leaving Kalimati to avoid scrutiny
Aug 1, 2014-
Vegetable and fruit traders have been spreading out to varied markets in the Kathmandu valley to escape government scrutiny which has been concentrated on the Kalimati market. With the Rapid Pesticide Residue Analysis Lab turning on the heat on sellers at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesale Market, they have fanned out to other wholesale markets resulting in a 20 percent drop in vegetable supplies there. Meanwhile, markets like Balkhu and Tukucha have reported a surge in business.
Binay Shrestha, senior planning officer of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB), said that the market had been receiving 500 tonnes of vegetables and fruits daily compared to 650 tonnes daily last month. Shrestha added that farmers could be sending their produce to other markets due to fear of pesticide residues being discovered in them.
Meanwhile, the Balkhu Agriculture, Vegetables and Fruits Market has been witnessing a surge in supply, according to officials. Vegetable and fruit shipments to the bazaar have swelled to 505 tonnes daily from 450 tonnes before.
Similarly, the Tukucha Bazaar has also reported an increase in supply since the last two weeks. “Around 50 truckloads of vegetables are arriving daily compared to 35 truckloads previously,”said Raju Ghimire who manages all the vegetables arriving at the market. “Vegetables are being shipped directly to the market here from places like Kavre, Lalitpur and Dhading, and we have been supplying vegetables to many areas in the valley.”
Ujjwal Karki, president of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesalers’Association, said that farmers were forced to send their produce to other markets to prevent possible losses by bring them to the Kalimati market.
“We have been saying that the market is not the right place to check vegetables for pesticide residues. It should be done at the collection centres,”he said, adding that the government should also conduct awareness campaigns for farmers.
Meanwhile, the Plant Protection Directorate has been planning to set up pesticide residue labs in other markets in the valley and elsewhere in the country. The Rapid Bioassay for Pesticide Residue (RBPR) has been measuring the pesticide residue level in the vegetables and fruits being sold at Kalimati since the directorate installed the machine costing Rs 1.5 million last month.
The directorate also plans to conduct various awareness programmes for farmers. “Farmers are using pesticides as medicines for their crops, so we should educate them about the use of these chemicals,”said Diliram Sharma, programme director at the Plant Protection Directorate.
Published: 01-08-2014 10:54