Buoyed by good returns, farmers pick garlic over wheatThe farmers who used to plant garlic over small areas have now started expanding their farms after receiving around 22 quintals of seeds at subsidised rates.
Jhup Lal Khadka of Musikot Municipality in west Rukum had been reliant on wheat farming for as long as he remembered but this year he planted garlic bulbs instead.
Mired by poor returns from wheat farming, Khadka retired from the traditional occupation. “I have sowed four quintals of garlic and the produce will bring in a good income,” said Khadka.
Khadka is one of the many farmers who previously cultivated wheat but after generating more than fair returns from garlic production, they opted to carry on with it.
More than 50 farmers have started commercial farming of garlic, with a single ward in the district planting 70 quintals of garlic seeds over patches previously green with wheat, at this time of the year.
The farmers who used to plant garlic over small areas have now started expanding their farms after receiving around 22 quintals of seeds at subsidised rates.
The farmers received seeds 75 percent subsidy on purchase of seeds from the ward office which has targeted to develop the region as a pocket zone for garlic.
According to Dhan Bahadur Khadka, ward member, in line with the vision to transform the area as garlic pocket zone, the ward has successfully increased the number of garlic farmers, land size and quantity of seeds distributed, this year.
Garlic farms have been expanded to three new areas this season.
Farmers say that they planted seeds of garlic after being told that the soil could foster garlic better than wheat. With garlic fetching a good price, farmers have demanded for the construction of a cold storage facility in the area.
“Farmers have been demanding for a cold storage to house the final product and garlic seeds in lieu of selling garlic throughout the season at good prices,” said Gopeshower KC, mayor of the municipality. “During the harvest season, the prices plummet and farmers are not able to get fair value for their produce and stocking garlic for long in the hope of getting a better price results in decay, garlic sprout and loss of weight.”