COVID-19 impact: Agro-products losing market


March 27, 2020


COVID-19 impact: Agro-products losing market

Agricultural products have become the first victim of the lockdown imposed by the government of Nepal. (Image for Representation)

KATHMANDU: Agricultural products have become the first victim of the lockdown imposed by the government of Nepal due to the fear of coronavirus spread.

With the decline in the movement in the marketplace, the milk and other dairy products, eggs, meat, flowers are losing the market. Kathmandu is the biggest market for agricultural products in the country. More than 900 thousand people have left Kathmandu valley after the corona outbreak.

COVID-19 has terrifically impacted Dairy Development Corporation, Nepal Dairy Association, Nepal Dairy Industry, Nepal Floriculture Association, poultry farmers have experienced the bad days. The sector has already witnessed a market decline of 30%.

Although milk and dairy products are vital sources to increase immune power, the consumers have gone skeptical about these products as well. “This skeptic attitude of the consumer has led the industry to the crisis,” Babukaji Karki, a farmer seeking fortune in cattle rearing for the last few years, said to Khabarhub. Babukaji has joined his academician brother Baburam in cow-farming for more than a decade now.

He said that the closure of hotels, restaurants, party palace, banquet, school and colleges and other major functions that used to be organized in the valley has resulted in the 30% decline of milk and dairy consumption.

The market that used to consume more than 400 thousand liters processed milk contributed from the private sector has shrunk to 280 thousand per liter. “The industry that was trying to stand on its own has seen bad days so early,” Karki said sadly.

Similarly, DDC’s market is also down by 44%. “DDC used to send 172 thousand liters in the valley market,” said Sanjeev Jha the chief of DDC’s Marketing Department, “but after this outbreak, the market has shrunk to 96,320 liters only.”

He remarked that he has found it difficult to balance the market as the supply is higher than demand now.
DDC had started Yak cheese production targeting the visitors of Visit Nepal 2020. The corporation’s plant has the capacity of producing 50 tons of cheese per year, it has got 28000 kg cheese of last year.

The tourists were the primary consumer of DDC’s cheese. DDC has already made an advance payment worth 123 million rupees.

According to the entrepreneurs converting it’s not easy to convert the milk into powder milk as only three powdering plants in the country have already produced at their maximum. DDC’s Biratnagar Plant, Sujal Milk Pokhara, and Chitwan Milk are the only plants to produce powder milk. Unfortunately, their storage capacity for raw milk is already full.

Poultry business has not seen good days either. Despite the experts’ remarks that well-cooked meat bears no health hazards, the consumers are still skeptical about the assurance. According to Jung Bahadur BC, the president of the National Poultry Entrepreneurs Association, the poultry business is also down by 40%.

Likewise, Kumar Kasaju Shrestha, the President of Nepal Floriculture Association says that his industry has gone through the hardest ever moment as all formal programs, seminars and hotels and restaurants are shut down.