Two private companies — Suryakamal Pvt Ltd, and Sulabh Fruits and Vegetable Management — have established a vegetable market in Balkhu of Kathmandu metropolis.
The market will open from Tuesday after being inaugurated by the caretaker prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on Monday.
"We have set up a modern vegetable market in five ropanis of land," said executive director of Suryakamal Ram Krishna Kunwar. "It has been established to facilitate farmers to get the real price," he said, adding that the market has 240 stalls.
Kathmandu has a demand of more than 1,000 metric tonnes (MT) of vegetables and the capital’s only Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market has the capacity to accommodate only 500-600 MT. Therefore, vegetables are being sold from different areas of the metropolis. The Kalimati market's monopoly has also fuelled malpractices in the vegetable sector, including an irrational pricing mechanism.
The country produces about 3.4 million MT vegetables every year on 255,500 hectares of arable land, while the production of fruits amounts to nearly 885,000 MT. The country imports vegetables, fruits, fish and meat worth billions of rupees from neighbours — India and China — and other third countries.
The market will not only sell vegetables but also make farmers aware about organic and cooperative farming. “We want to provide more benefits to farmers,” said Kunwar, adding that the company will provide financial support to farmers in pocket areas. A large quantity of vegetables enter Kathmandu from nearby districts like Dhading, Nuwakot, and Kavre throughout the year.
The market has different wholesale and retail shops for perishable vegetables, storable vegetables, beans, fruits, spices and fish. It also has a separate block for seeds, fertilisers and pesticides