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Though Pabitra Pun from Pandavkhani in Galkot Municipality-10, Baglung sold around 400 kg of buckwheat that she harvested this season, she is not happy with the price she got for her produce.

Like Pun, other farmers in the area still use only compost manure to grow buckwheat as they rarely import chemical fertilizers. 

Locals in the area want to brand the buckwheat they grow in the hopes of getting a better price for their produce. But the area does not have an expert technician to certify it.

“We do not know how a product is categorised as organic,” Pun told the Post. “We do not have labelling and packaging knowledge and skills either.”

Farmers lament that they have to sell the buckwheat in a hurry at a low rate. “We fear the harvest will rot away if we start waiting for better prices,” added Pun, who sold buckwheat at around Rs62 per kg.

With technical support and marketisation, farmers in the area believe they could sell their produce for as much as four times the price they have been selling.

The 30 farmers who have formed a group made only Rs750,000 this season from buckwheat.

The issue is not only limited to buckwheat.

The farmers have also grown around 2.8 tonnes of beans this season, which they sold quickly fearing price issues.

“We do not have a collection centre either,” said Tulimaya Pun, group’s secretary. “A facility to store them for a longer period would have definitely helped us to sell them at a better rate.”

Bhakta Kaucha, ward chair at Galkot Municipality-10, said the farmers in the area were in need of market access not only for their organic buckwheat and beans but for their other produce such as corn, millet, mustard, wheat and barley as well.

“We seek assistance from the district’s Agriculture Knowledge Centre in the absence of an agricultural technician at the municipality,” said Kaucha. “The municipality also needs to invest in infrastructure development for promoting farming.”

Bhanu Bhakta Bhattarai, chief at the centre, said that they plan to run programmes to promote oilseed crops in the area.

“The organic oil can be produced in the village by installing the processing machine,” said Bhattarai. “We can help farmers to bring the machine at 50 percent subsidy.”

“The centre can also help the farmers in the promotion of their produce and ensure market access if farmers can guarantee sustainable production,” Bhattarai added.

Most of the farmers in the area interested in commercial farming are women.

Women farmers from Pandavkhani were awarded as the best women entrepreneurs by the municipality last year. 

Baglung farmers forced to sell crops at low prices due to lack of marketisation (kathmandupost.com)

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