Nepal farmers are being looted

Every evening, a group of 8-10 agro traders and middlemen gather before Atithi Sadan in Biratnagar . They hold discussions for about two–three hours and fix the prices of agriculture products supplied to the eastern Nepal. And, farmers are compelled to sell their products at prices fixed by the middlemen.

Avinash Bohora, former president of Morang Merchant Association, said the government has not come up with any pricing mechanism, and has been giving legitimacy to the price determined by traders and middlemen.

Prices paddy, wheat, maize, soybean and jute, among other commodities, are fixed by these traders and middlemen.

Bohora, however, said the prices are maintained based on demand-supply situation and Indian market prices. The Morang Merchant Association circulates the set prices to all of its branches, and the branches forward the rates to local traders.

On Friday, the association priced mota dhan at Rs 2,500 per quintal, bas kanchhi at Rs 2,500, purano mansuli at Rs 3,050, purano basmati at Rs 4,400 and sona purano at Rs 2,600, naya mota dhan at Rs 1,825, naya kumari at Rs 1,950 and masino naya gujrat at Rs 1,800 per quintal. The prices of new produce are 7 percent higher than those a year ago. Traders say the paddy price rose following the tightening of illegal exports since last year.

Farmers cultivate paddy on more than 500,000 hectors of land in the eastern Nepal. Last year, paddy production stood at 1.8 million tonnes. The figure is estimated to increase 10 percent this year.

Madan Shrestha, officiating director at the Regional Agriculture Directorate, said farmers have not received appropriate price of their products due to the practice of fixing the rates by middlemen and traders.

He said the farmers are time and again complaining about the matter to the Ministry of Agriculture Development and Market Development Directorate under the Department of Agriculture, but to no avail. “Farmers are being looted,” he said.

– Courtesy of Kantipur Business