Karnali Province in a comfortable position on food supplyWhile vegetables are abundant in the market, the fruits are less so, since the import from India has stopped.
The week-long shutdown orders have raised fears of food shortage among the people in the province, particularly those living in the food insecure districts. Authorities concerned, however, say the province is well-stocked in food supplies for at least another two months.
According to the Surkhet-based Food Management and Trade Company, the province has a stock of about 38,000 quintals of foodstuffs in its nine warehouses.
“The remaining stock would suffice for at least two months,” Bhim Thapa, manager of the company, said. “We are in correspondence with the provincial government to ensure a stady supply of food. There has been no trouble so far in collecting and distributing foodstuffs.” The only concern the company has is that supply could be disrupted during the rainy season.
Thapa said the company had already communicated about its concern to the provincial government.
Padam Lal Lamichhane, administrative officer and spokesperson at the District Administration Office in Surkhet, acknowledged that many people were concerned about food security, but assured that there was no reason to panic.
“By our estimates, the food stock can last for nearly three months,” he said.
The province is also in a comfortable position regarding the production of vegetables, according to Prabal Shahi, chair of the Surkhet-based Agriculture Market Management Committee.
“The province has seen an abundant pre-season rainfall this year, which helps vegetables grow,” Shahi said. “The province has seen a steady rise in the production of vegetables over the years, so lockdown or sealing of the province would not affect much.”
While vegetables are abundant in the market, the fruits are less so, since the import from India has stopped, Shahi said.
However, shortage of fuel products is projected because of a lack of storage capacity. “There’s enough fuel for now but we may need a refill soon,” said Deepak Prasad Ghimire, chief of the Provincial office of Nepal Oil Corporation.
The province has only 13 petrol pumps, so they can store only a limited amount of fuel. “The government should allow the movement of trucks carrying fuel to avert a worse-case situation where fuel might be in short supply,” he said.