Lalitpur city unveils Nepal’s first seed vending machineThe state-of-the art technology provides 36 varieties of seeds of vegetables and flowers
In a bid to promote rooftop vegetable farming in the city and provide farmers with quality seeds at reasonable prices, the Lalitpur Metropolitan City on Sunday unveiled the first of its kind ‘seed vending machine’ in the country.
Lalitpur Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan unveiled the state-of-the-art machine in the presence of Yubak Dhoj GC, secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Keshav Adhikari, chief of the Agriculture Division Office of the metropolis, local farmers and journalists.
“I am happy to unveil such a sophisticated machine first time in Nepal. Our main target is to promote root-top vegetable and flower farming in the city and to provide quality seeds to citizens with minimal cost,” said Maharjan. “If we could promote roof-top farming, this will help reduce the organic solid waste to a great extent which is the main problem in the city.”
Maharjan added that the city authority was looking forward to installing such machines in all the 29 wards.
The metropolis assumes that service seekers who come in hundreds on a daily basis at the municipal office will also buy seeds from the vending machine. Through the vending machine, farmers can get 36 different varieties of seeds of vegetables and flowers. The cost ranges from Rs 10, 20 and 40 to 100.
The machine was procured in a public private partnership model involving Saakal Agro and Seed Traders. The cost of the machine imported from Chennai, India, is Rs 900,000. The Traders, which will operate the machine, will be looking after its overall maintenance. Every year, Traders needs to renew its licence to operate the machine.
“Mayor Maharjan is working with an innovative idea. Since Nepal is an agricultural country, its economy is dependent on agriculture. This machine will be of great help for commoners to get the seeds they are looking for,” said Agriculture Secretary GC.
In March, the city installed ‘Water ATM’ or ‘Pani Padhero’ to provide the public easy access to safe drinking water, where anyone can drink 200 ml water paying Rs 2.
“In developed countries, people get food and drinks from vending machines. The metropolitan city here provides seeds, which is a praiseworthy job,” added GC.
One can buy the vegetable and flower seeds of choice pressing a button on the screen of the vending machine that displays the variety of seeds along with their pictures and price. One needs to put a clean currency bill on the machine and the vending machine issues the packet.
Mira Shah, province-3 deputy chairperson of the Federation of National Agriculture Group, welcomed the move. “This will be of great help for gullible farmers against being cheated by agricultural dealers, because they can find quality seeds at reasonable cost here,” said Shah.
“Now we won’t have to wander through shops to get seasonal vegetable and flower seeds,” said Rama Bistha, 54, who had come to see the vending machine from Bhaisapati in Lalitpur-25.
According to the Agriculture Division office, a total of 42,600 people (14.5 percent of the municipal population) are dependent on agriculture. Its report shows that 9,000 tonnes of seasonal vegetables were produced last year, generating Rs 450 million in revenue.