Restriction Orders Affect Sale Of Litchi

Litchis are now ripening in the farmer’s field. Although litchis have started ripening, the market is closed for sale. The prohibitory order enforced for the prevention and control COVID-19 has affected the farmers of Devghat Rural Municipality-5, Saune of Tanahun who are commercially cultivating litchi. Ward Chairman of Devghat Rural Municipality-5 Yal Bahadur Gurung has cultivated litchi in 400 plants in an area of 40 ropanis of land. Although litchis have started ripening now, the market is closed for sale, said Gurung. Gurung said that there was a problem of where to sell the litchis as the market was not open. He said that even though traders used to come to pick litchis last year, this time no trader had contacted them. Chairman Gurung has been cultivating litchi commercially since 2013 by registering a Khabdari Agricultural Farm. He said that income from litchi would not be as expected this time. Even last year, litchi could not be sold due to the lockdown. He said that litchi worth Rs. 250,000 had been sold two years ago. Along with litchi, he has also planted bananas, mangoes, lemons and jackfruits on the land. He said that even though he had a worker to take care of the litchi, he would come to the garden every day and take care of them. “It is a challenge to protect litchis from monkeys,” he said. A litchi pocket area has been declared in the ward with the active participation of ward chairman Gurung. The ward was declared a litchi pocket area under the Gandaki Province government’s fruit pocket area programme. About 50 farmers are involved in commercial cultivation of litchi under the pocket area programme. All these farmers have few plants of litchis. Some have 10-15 plants and some have 50-55 plants. Another litchi farmer Rishi Ram Subedi said that the ward chairman Gurung has the largest number of litchi plants in the Rural Municipality. Subedi also said that there could be problems in the sale of litchis produced in Devghat due to the lockdown.