Butwal, November 5, 2016:Â Rupandehi has attained self-sufficiency in vegetables after farmers started growing them on a commercial scale.
According to the statistics of the District Agriculture Office, commercial vegetable farming is conducted on 4,147 hectares in the district. The annual output stands at 90,991 tonnes.
More than 20 percent of the fresh vegetables produced in Rupandehi are exported through Bhairahawa and Butwal. Villages like Maghgawa, Suryapura, Manpakadi, Dhamauli, Bhagwanpur, Khudabagar and 15 village development committees have emerged as vegetable pocket areas.
Nearly 500 farmers are involved in commercial vegetable production in the district. In Devdaha Municipality, more than 150 households have been producing organic vegetables on 50 hectares. They have been growing seasonal and off-season vegetables for the last six years.
â€œSubsidies provided by commercial vegetable production programmes have attracted more young farmers to the vegetable sector,â€ said Bhoj Raj Sapkota, chief of the District Agriculture Office.
There are 1,000 farmer groups and 150 farmer cooperatives in Rupandehi. Most farmers have been growing vegetables under the government-run farm programmes. â€œThis has helped to boost output,â€ said Sapkota. There are more than 100 marketplaces in the district which have made it easy for farmers to sell their produce.
Besides these marketplaces, the Butwal Agriculture Products Wholesale Centre sees daily transactions totalling Rs10 million.
Likewise, the Mayadevi Fruits and Vegetable Market has a daily turnover of Rs3 million. Local farmers said that if smallholders were provided subsidized inputs and irrigation facilities, vegetable production could jump severalfold. â€œAs growing vegetables requires more water compared to cereal crops, farmers need round-the-year irrigation facilities,â€ said Man Bahadur Magar, chairman of the Sarankali Farmers Cooperative in Devdaha.
If sufficient irrigation is provided, the districtâ€™s vegetable output could more than double. Nearly, 87 percent of the farmers in the district depend on rain water for their farming.
ByÂ Amrita Anmol