Print Edition - 2014-12-26 | MONEY
Humla farm products to hit valley market
Dec 25, 2014-
Encouraged by rapid sales in the Kathmandu valley of buckwheat and bean procured from remote mountainous regions like Manang, Mustang, Mugu and Jumla, state-owned Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) has launched a similar programme in Humla in far western Nepal.
Under the scheme, NFC will buy organic agriculture products from farmers in Humla and sell them in the Kathmandu valley. The corporation has fixed the procurement price of bean at Rs 100 per kg and buckwheat at Rs 50 per kg.
However, local farmers have said that the prices offered to them were relatively low compared to the market price. They said that bean costs Rs 130 per kg in Simikot and buckwheat costs more than Rs 100 per kg in the village.
Humla is known as a permanent food shortage region as it is not capable of producing enough food to feed itself. Humla is a remote district in Karnali zone in the northwestern corner of Nepal. For most of the year, food has to be flown into the district.
The food grown here is barely enough for three months, and the people depend on government subsidized rice for the rest of the year. Sometimes, delays in food transportation result in near famine situations.
Rice, millet and maize can be cultivated in the lower river basins, but the higher mountain slopes are only good for growing barley, potato and buckwheat.
NFC said that it would be transporting farm products out from the region on the flights bringing food grain into the district. At present, cargo flights bringing food return with herbs produced in the region.
“We will be transporting the products by planes that are used to supply food to Humla,” said Doleshore Niraula, an NFC official. “This will bring down transport costs.” Locals said that such a scheme would benefit producers, but they complained that the prices offered were too low.
“If the corporation provided reasonable rates, it would encourage farmers too,” said Ram Chandra Buda, a local farmer.
Humla produces sufficient amounts of buckwheat and bean, but due to lack of transportation, farmers are not able to ship their products to market.
NFC said that buckwheat and bean produced in high altitude regions were in great demand as they are very nutritious. NFC believes that its efforts to expand the market for the region’s farm products will help the local people to increase their income.
Published: 26-12-2014 09:42