New veg, fruits market starts operations in Balkhu
KATHMANDU, Sept 17: A new vegetables and fruits market came into operation in Balkhu from Monday, aiming to boost the supply of vegetables and fruits in the Valley by facilitating wholesale and retail business under one roof.
Prime Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai inaugurated the market, which expends in an area of 2,544 square meters and can accommodate 240 stalls, including 180 wholesale stalls and 60 retail units.
The market is developed and managed by Sulabh Fruits and Vegetables Management Pvt Ltd with investment running at Rs 100 million apart from land cost.
Ram Krishna Kunwar, executive director of Sulabh Fruits and Vegetables Management, said farmers and any other retailers can directly sell their produces from the market by acquiring stalls on rent. “Our calculation is, the operation of this market will increase supply of the fruits and vegetables in the market by more than 300 tons a day,” said Kunwar.
The government data estimates that the daily demand for fruits and vegetables in the Valley stands at about 1,000 tons. However, Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market -- the only other major vegetables supplying market in the valley -- has been supplying only up to 600 tons of fruits and vegetables a day.
“Effectively, the new vegetables and fruits market in Balkhu will plug the supply gap. This will have a strong bearing on prices,” said Kunwar.
That is not all. He even claimed that the prices of vegetables and fruits in the new market will be some 20 percent cheaper than the Kalimati market. “That is possible because our rental charge for the stalls is far cheaper. Also the cost of transportation up to our market is cheaper than Kalimati because of its location on the Ring Road,” Kunwar added.
In his inaugural address, PM Bhattarai praised Sulabh Fruits and Vegetables Management for its investment in the agri-business. “It has proven that the private sector is more efficient and effective than the public sector,” said Bhattarai, referring that the government´s allocation of Rs 140 million for the development of vegetable and fruits market three year ago had not yielded tangible results.
Bhattarai noted that the Kathmandu Valley still needs more vegetables and fruits markets in its different parts. “This is crucial not just to access the farmers to the market, but also to increase choices and lower prices of such essential goods in the market,” said Bhattarai.
He even promised support from the government if the private sector jumped into the establishment of such markets in the other parts of the Valley.
PM Bhattarai also instructed the management of the Balkhu vegetables and fruits market to make sure the farmers get due prices for their produces. “At the same time, I also ask you to make sure consumers are not forced to charge unnecessarily higher charges,” said Dr Bhattarai.