The Kathmandu Post, 25th May 2017, Kathmandu
Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) will be spending Rs125 million to buy 4,000 tonnes of wheat directly from farmers in a bid to ensure that they get a fair price for their harvest besides protecting them from possible exploitation by middlemen.
State-owned NFC normally buys paddy from farmers to maintain buffer stocks. It also intervenes in the market in an attempt to stabilise prices of other agro products.
According to NFC, it will be purchasing 3,000 tonnes of wheat from farmers in the Mid-Western and Far Western regions. It has targeted buying 1,000 tonnes of wheat each from Kailali and Bardia districts.
Likewise, it has planned to buy 500 tonnes each from Banke and Rupandehi districts. The remaining 1,000 tonnes of wheat will be acquired from farmers in the Central and Eastern regions. The corporation will be buying 250 tonnes each from Parsa, Siraha, Jhapa and Morang districts.
NFC has bought 740 tonnes of wheat from Kailali so far. The corporation has fixed prices at Rs26,750 and Rs26,300 per tonne for farmers in the district. It has bought 300 tonnes of wheat from farmers in Bardia at the rate of Rs26,300 per tonne.
NFC Spokesperson Shankar Sapkota said they had paid farmers Rs200 to Rs300 more per tonne than the prevailing market price. According to him, a joint committee consisting of the chief district officer, representatives of local consumer committees and NFC has fixed wheat prices.
Sapkota said the corporation would be selling the wheat bought from farmers from its outlets in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. “Based on demand in these areas, we will be selling it by adding a reasonable markup.”
NFC reportedly switched to buying wheat as farmers appeared to be reluctant to sell paddy to the corporation. NFC has so far bought 21,600 tonnes of paddy from farmers against its target of 40,200 tonnes. Sapkota said NFC could not buy any more after farmers raised prices of their products recently. The corporation has fixed paddy prices for this year from Rs22,000 to Rs32,500 per tonne depending on the type.