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Farmers’ Market offers varied organic foods

Kathmandu, May 02, 2016: With more Kathmanduites eating organic foods and knowledge about stores selling them spreading, sales of products made without the use of chemical inputs have swelled in the valley.

The growing market for organic products has also encouraged traders from Canada and the US to team up with local vendors to hold Farmers’ Markets.

“Farmers’ Market is an innovative initiation to create price and benefit awareness about organic products in the Nepali market,” said Matt Dawes, the proprietor of Milkmandu Dairy and organiser of the latest Farmers’ Market which opened Sunday at the Summit Hotel, Lalitpur.

“The event will happen every Sunday for a month with the aim of encouraging the commitment of Nepali consumers towards organic products.”

According to Dawes, the Farmers’ Market has been launched to raise competition among local organic vendors and provide them a trading platform. “We want our customers to have a great shopping experience,” Dawes added.

Around 200 persons visited the Farmers’ Market on Sunday which offered chocolates, honey, homemade pasta and sauce, vegetables and bagels.

“The production of organic foods has been growing at the rate of 20-25 percent annually as consumers are becoming more aware of the possible health-related complications of fast and junk food,” said Khagendra Shrestha, vice-president of the Organic Agricultural Promotion Centre.

“There are two communities producing organic food—business houses and organic food aficionados. Though production has been increasing, lack of proper positioning and supply in the market means that only 40 percent of the output is being traded annually” said Kapil Prajapati, member of the Organic Agricultural Promotion Centre. According to Prajapati, most of the fresh organic vegetables are produced in Kapan, Mulpani, Thankot, Tokha and Lalitpur.

“Demand for bagels in Nepal encouraged me to start producing them,” said Nam Gayle who regularly consumed the snack during his stay in the US. “These bagels cost Rs150 apiece.”

Honey trader Silajit said, “Organic honey harvested at the right time can easily outperform honey made in the lab when it comes to health benefits.” Silajit offers four types of honey—raw honey, local honey, royal honey and wild honey which cost Rs1,150 per kg, Rs50 per 500 gm, Rs980 per 500 gm and Rs150 per 250 gm respectively.

Engineering graduate Raybot Man Bania of Dhapasi was selling chocolates at the Farmers’ Market. Bania could not find quality chocolates in Nepal and decided to start his own chocolate production. “Many producers use cheap alternatives instead of chocobutter to reduce costs, putting the health of customers at risk,” said Bania, owner of Himalayan Chocolatiers. He offers chocolates costing from Rs25 to Rs350.

Aromatherapy, homemade pasta and chips and Ayurvedic products are also available at Farmers’ Market which contains 20 stalls.