Vegetable imports banned to promote local products and keep virus at bayOfficials are working to bring fresh produce directly from the farmers' fields to consumers.
The local administration has banned the import of vegetables and fruits from India, and all contraband food items and fresh produce have been destroyed and the warehouses where they were stored have been sealed.
Local officials and the Dang Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the move was directed at promoting domestic products and preventing the possible spread of the coronavirus from the southern neighbour.
Traders had been supplying Indian vegetables as they are cheaper; but following the stringent embargo, all deliveries to the market have stopped, officials said.
Vegetables grown locally are now being sold in the bazaar, said Narayan Prasad Bhusal, president of the Dang Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Domestic produce are starting to gain a market after imports were stopped,” he said.
We are working to bring vegetables directly from the farmers' fields to consumers, he added. “The vegetable requirement is being fulfilled by local production. The district is even self-sufficient in the supply of cabbage, and is able to export it to other places.”
There are adequate stocks of varied kinds of local vegetables, but lemon is in short supply in the market. This has made growers realise the importance of lemon farming, Bhusal said.
“There is a huge demand for lemon in the market, but we have not been able to fulfil it,” he said.
Vegetables are being brought in from Rolpa and Salyan too, he said. A home delivery system has been started for farmers so that they can sell their products directly to consumers without having to rely on layers of middlemen.
"Farmers were not getting a fair value for their crops, so we have shortened the supply chain to allow them to sell their vegetables by themselves,” he said.
The chamber had decided to collect fresh produce from the farmers and deliver them to the consumers' homes, but after it was revealed that several of its vehicles based in Tulsipur were being used to transport vegetables from India, the coordinator of the scheme, Ram Prasad Pokhrel, stepped down. The treasurer of the chamber, Sushil Pokhrel, has taken his place.
Vegetables brought from India have all been destroyed, and the shops selling them have been sealed. A vegetable market in Tulsipur where Indian vegetables are mostly sold has also been shuttered.
Tulsipur Sub-Metropolitan City decided to ban the import of Indian vegetable as local production was sufficient. Officials said the coronavirus was spreading widely in India, and there was increasing risk of the disease being transmitted to Nepal with the shipments.
Four Indian vehicles were arriving daily with vegetables, and there was great risk of spreading the coronavirus, said Biru Rawat, president of the Tulsipur Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The vegetable and fruit market that was shut down had been importing Indian products in defiance of the ban. A team from the consumer rights protection division of Tulsipur Sub-Metropolitan City and the Tulsipur Commerce and Industry Association closed the market.
The inspection team also found a large number of shops selling vegetables imported from India in Tulsipur-5. Many fruit and vegetable stores found selling Indian vegetables have been ordered closed.