Pokhara Metropolis runs Farmer’s Market to cut out middlemenFarmers complained that they are forced to sell their produce at lower—and often unremunerative—rates to middlemen.
Bindu Adhikari, a farmer of Jogimani in Pokhara Metropolitan City Ward No. 16, has been busy lately setting up her shop at the newly established Farmer’s Market in Thulipokhari. The market has been set up by the Pokhara Metropolitan Office to facilitate farmers in bringing their produce to consumers without the involvement of middlemen.
Talking about her recent experience, Adhikari said that a middleman purchased coriander leaves from her at Rs 200 per kg and sold the same produce at Rs500 to a retailer. By the time the produce reached the market, it was priced at Rs 800 per kilo.
“We are selling vegetables at a much lower price than what the consumers are paying,” said Adhikari. Comparing the price of the produce at its source and the amount charged to consumers at retail, Adhikari said, “Neither are we getting our proper share in the supply chain nor are the consumers getting a fair price. It's the middlemen who benefit at the expense of both farmers and consumers.”
Farmers like Adhikari say they are happy with the metropolis’ move to set up a Farmer’s Market where they can directly sell their produce to consumers.
Shalikram Adhikari, a farmer of Purunchaur in Ward No. 19 of the metropolis, said, “Farmers like us are paid far less compared to the price our vegetables are sold in the market. We don’t even receive the money from our sale on time.”
The majority of Pokhara’s farmers said they have no option but to sell their produce at lower—and often unremunerative—rates.
“We are paid well at the Farmer’s Market, and we also get cash in hand, Shalikram said. According to him, he sold one kg of tomatoes at Rs 70 on Wednesday. “The same tomatoes cost Rs 100 in other markets,” he said.
The Farmer’s Market, which was built at the cost of Rs 1.1 million, can accommodate 25 farmers. For the time being, the metropolis plans to run the market on Saturdays only. However, the farmers have been demanding the office to run the market every day.
“Farmers get very less, as the middlemen take advantage of us all the time. It would be beneficial for the consumers and us if the market were run every day,” said Govinda Prasad Acharya, a farmer.
Dil Bahadur BK from Lamachaur, who was at the Farmer’s Market to buy vegetables, said, “In comparison to other markets outside, the cost of vegetables is less here, and the produce are fresh. This market should be open every day,” said BK.
Inaugurating the Farmer’s Market, Man Bahadur GC, mayor of the metropolis, said his office took the initiative to start the market to facilitate direct selling platforms for farmers, to cut out middlemen and to contain food inflation.
As per the data of the Pokhara Metropolitan City, there are 137 and 100 agriculture farms in Ward No 16 and 19, respectively.