Pokhara folks wait for hours for fresh, cheaper vegetables
POKHARA, July 29: Manmaya Gurung of Miyapatan in Pokhara-9 queued for nearly four hours to buy fresh vegetables in the premises of Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket, New Road. She visited the store after she heard that the store was allowing farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers.
Gurung is among hundreds of people who made a beeline at Bhat-Bhateni store to buy fresh vegetables. The number of consumers at Bhat-Bhateni store in Pokhara has been increasing after the retail giant started ´Farmers to Family´ campaign. Under the campaign, it allows farmers in Pokhara and surrounding districts to sell their produces directly to consumers.
Farmers in Yampha Phant of Tanahun are among the beneficiaries of the campaign. Andhi Mul Vegetables Production Cooperative in Yampha Phant has been selling 2.2 to 2.7 tons of vegetables in the premises of Bhat-Bhateni store every day. The cooperative has been selling vegetable in Bhat-Bhateni premises since last week.
“The vegetables are fresh and cheaper too,” Gurung said. “But the store should make it more managed as I got my turn after staying in queue for about four hours.” She also said the price of vegetables at Bhat-Bhateni premises is nearly half compared to other markets in Pokhara.
Bhat-Bhateni started the campaign to celebrate the opening of its first outlet in Pokhara last week. “We launched the campaign to provide better price to farmers and disseminate the message that Bhat-Bhateni sells good at cheaper price,” Min Bahadur Gurung, proprietor of Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket, said. “The campaign is also aimed at discouraging middlemen, who take away significant chunk of farmers´ earnings, as farmers sell their produce directly to consumers.” Proprietor Gurung also said the store was not charging even a penny from farmers.
Binayak Ranjit of Fulbari suggested Bhat-Bhateni to expand the campaign in other parts of Pokhara as well. “It is natural for consumers to make a beeline when farmers are selling fresh vegetables at cheaper price. Bhat-Bhateni should expand the campaign in 3-4 places in Pokhara to manage the crowd,” said Ranjit.
The cooperative, which has a total of 150 members, is planning to increase supplies to meet the growing demand from consumers. Barun Bhattarai, secretary of the cooperative said, they have been failing to increase supplies due to lack of transport facility. “Going by the demand over the past week, we can say Bhat-Bhateni alone needs around 5 tons of vegetables a day,” he added.