Veggie prices plunge in Sarlahi after crackdown
Jul 27, 2014-
The crackdown against contaminated vegetables in Kathmandu has led to prices plunging in Lalbandi, a major vegetable producing area in Sarlahi district.
After the Plant Protection Directorate (PPD) confiscated 550 kg of tainted cowpeas supplied by Yadav Multi-purpose Cooperative of Sarlahi at the Kalimati vegetable bazaar on Friday, prices of cowpea and bitter gourd have fallen sharply.
The Rapid Pesticide Residue Analysis Lab found 97.17 percent residues of pesticides in the cowpea being sold at Kalimati. Vegetable vendors even clashed with police as they impounded the stocks from a stall.
On Saturday, cowpea prices dropped to Rs 14 per kg from Rs 25 a day earlier. Similarly, bitter gourd fell to Rs 10 per kg from Rs 26. Prices of other vegetables have also dropped significantly.
A few days ago, the Rapid Pesticide Residue Analysis Laboratory in Kalimati revealed that 14 percent of the vegetables supplied in the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market were contaminated with pesticides spreading panic among consumers.
“We lost a lot of money after 550 kg of cowpea we shipped to Kathmandu was seized,” said Kusman Miya, a local trader. He has become more cautious now, and has been buying nominal amounts of vegetables to send to Kathmandu and other cities. “I am afraid the vegetables might be seized again if they contain pesticide residues.”
With traders buying less vegetables, prices have dropped significantly. Farmers said that cowpea becomes infected with pests if the plants are not sprayed with pesticides.
“Production is badly affected if pesticides are not applied,” said Pawan Lama, a local farmer. As Lalbandi alone supply 12 tonnes of cowpea daily to various cities including the Kathmandu valley, falling prices have hit farmers hard.
Some farmers claimed that pesticides were being used haphazardly as the government had not trained them on their proper use.
Published: 28-07-2014 09:33