When tomatoes from India entered the Nepali market at a lower price, local tomatoes started getting spoilt in the field.
The tomatoes that vendors had been buying for 20 rupees per kg in later January are not being sold even at 10 rupees per kg in mid-February.
Broccoli, cabbage and potato too have met a similar fate. Farmers in eastern and northern Morang pled with the local government to provide them a market rather than fertiliser, seeds and technology.
Farmer Tek Bahadur Niraula who grows tomato of Letang-8 breed, said that tomatoes have stopped selling even at Rs. 10 per kilo. He, who used to make a profit of Rs. 300,000 annually, said no vendors came to ask for tomatoes anymore.
Pathshala Agro Cooperative Association is likely to bear a loss of Rs. 700,000 this year. Chairman Durga Prasad Khatiwada informed that normally 1000 tomato plants would produce 70,000 kilograms of tomatoes. They haven’t been able to sell tomatoes worth Rs. 100,000 yet.
They started their production in late January. By then, India had already begun supplying tomatoes at Rs. 6 per kg. So, the local farmers could not sell theirs even at Rs. 10 per kg.
Khatiwada added that the cost of harvesting tomatoes is around Rs. 12-15 per kilo. If it is done on the land taken on lease, the cost reaches around Rs. 25. The tomatoes have ripened, yet they stay squashed in some corner of an unsold basket.
The answer to why tomatoes were being thrown on street lies here, he said.
Farmers say that Indian tomatoes enter Morang and Jhapa through nearby border villages instead of the usual Kakarvitta and Biratnagar route.
Source : RSS,