Cabbage farmers, traders stand to lose Rs100m

- PRADEEP MENYANGBO, DHARAN

Aug 3, 2017-

Cabbage farmers and traders based in Dhankuta, Tehrathum and Dharan are likely to suffer losses to the tune Rs100 million this year, as the vegetable has been decaying within a day of being harvested.

Cabbages grown in Basantapur of Tehrathum, and Sidhuwa and Hile of Dhankuta are usually brought to Dharan before being supplied to markets in the vicinity and India. But lately cabbages collected from Dhankuta and Tehrathum have started becoming useless for consumption by the time they arrive in Dharan. “This problem has been going 

on for some time. So, we have totally stopped selling the vegetable,” Shiva Chandra Chaudhary, a Dharan-based vegetable trader, said. 

In the previous years, cabbages brought from Dhankuta and Tehrathum used to remain fresh for four to five days of harvesting. “This is not the case this time around. And we are becoming worried,” Chaudhary said.

If this continues, traders and farmers are likely to suffer losses of around Rs100 million this year.

Dharan had sold around 13,521 tonnes of cabbages brought from Koshi Hill Corridor in the last fiscal year. These cabbages were worth Rs165.9 million. This means that cabbage was sold at around Rs12.3 per kg in the wholesale market. 

Although the production of cabbage has remained the same this year, wholesale price of the vegetable has dropped to Rs4-6 per kg.

While the fall in cabbage price has hurt both farmers and traders, the problem of early decaying has compounded their problems.

“As most of the cabbages supplied from Tehrathum and Dhankuta are not consumable, we have halted exports of the vegetable to India as well,” said Laxman Bhattarai, manager of Agricultural Produce Market in Dharan. Almost 50 percent of cabbages brought to Dharan are exported to India.

Although the exact cause that spoiled the cabbages is not known, farmers assume excessive use of fertilisers, continuous rain during harvesting period, use of improper vehicles to transport the consignment and rudimentary storage facilities are some of the reasons.

“This time we had excessive rain during the harvest season. This led to formation of amino acid in cabbages, which caused the vegetable to rot,” said Megindra Gurung, a cabbage farmer from Dhankuta. “If we had waited for the rain to stop, the cabbages wouldn’t have decayed so early.”

But Bhattarai said harvesting cabbages during the rainy season is not a new practice and farmers have been doing this in the past as well. “Yet we never faced this problem,” said Bhattarai, adding, “The soil should be tested to find if there has been an outbreak of a new disease. If this problem is not contained now, farmers will lose hundreds of millions of rupees in the coming days."

Published: 03-08-2017 08:26

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