Bajura- Apple farmers of the district are happy this year as they don’t have to worry about the market. Their produce is sold from the farm itself, and they are relieved from incurring losses due to the rotting of apples when they had to wait to find buyers and transport the produce until last year.
The situation changed as the Agriculture Knowledge Center (AKC) based in Bajura started buying the produce from the farmers.
Megh Raj Shahi, an apple farmer, said the problem of having to suffer losses because of lack of market has been solved.
The center purchased apples from farmers for the first time this year for market promotion, under government subsidy.
Min Prasad Jaisi, agriculture promotion officer of the AKC Bajura, said the subsidy was provided to encourage farmers who were distressed from the lack of connectivity with the market despite huge production.
Jaisi, who also is the information officer of the center, said the subsidy was introduced with an aim of creating awareness among the consumers about the quality and getting the apples to provincial and central capital’s market. Jaisi is proactively leading the process of purchasing apples from the farms of farmers.
The AKC transported 10 tons of apples to Kathmandu and 6 tons to Dhangadi through Piluchaur, Karnali Corridor of Bajura, on Wednesday. The AKC has managed transportation of 600 quintals of apples with subsidy to the market in the first phase.
Bajura produces apples worth estimated Rs 20 million annually. The apples will be sold at a cheaper price than the ones imported from China and India.
The farmers will sell the apples, grown without using pesticide, at Rs 100 per kilogram in Kathmandu and Rs 90 to Rs 95 in Dhangadi.
Though there are problems while transporting the produces in mules at the moment, it is said that the price will be slimmed down after the construction of roads. Farmers sell the apples at Rs 25 per kilogram from their farm. However, it costs additional Rs 25 for mule and Rs 35 for the transportation from Piluchaur to Kathmandu.
Farmers are happy as they are able to sell apples from their farms and their produce has reached the capital for the first time. The AKC has taken the initiative to keep apple farmers motivated and attract more people to this profession.
Farmers from Swamikartik and Jagannath have collected 200 quintals of apples to supply to the capital of the country. Similarly, preparation is on to supply apples grown in Pandusain to the local markets of Bajura and Achham. The supply begins as soon as the Martadi Kolti Road that is currently having some problems comes into operation.
The AKC program has a subsidy of Rs 1.5 million, of which Rs 1.1 million will be used in the transportation and the remaining Rs 400,000 have been used for cartons for packaging.
If 600 quintals of apples are supplied outside the district, it will earn Rs 6 million for the farmers. According to the statistics, the district produces 1,050 metric tons of apples from 230 hectares of land. There are 70,000 apples trees in the farm land, according to the AKC.