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Nepal to export organic tomato to India

Nepal´s sole hybrid tomatoes "Shrijana" produced organically will be exported to India soon.

A firm called Gorkha Seeds has been producing organic tomatoes at Nakkhu in Lalitpur for last two months to cater to the domestic market as well as demand from India, where organic vegetables is on high demand.

"Indian traders from Raxaul have demanded organic tomatoes and we are supplying Shrijana tomatoes for the first time to India, which is a promising market," said Dr Kedar Budhathoki, a consultant researcher of organic tomato farming.

Budhathoki said ´Shrijana´ is resistant to flood and wilt and has huge potential to tap India market during July-October, which is off season for tomato in India.

´Shrijana´ was first officially introduced at Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) a few years back by a team led by Dr Budhathoki.

At the Nakkhu farm, tomatoes, eggplants, bottle gourds, beans, chilly among other vegetables are being produced in organic way in 34 ropanis of land.

"We are providing organic vegetables including tomatoes at very low price as cheaper as non-organic vegetables because productivity of organic vegetables is as high as non-organic ones," Budhathoki added.

He claimed that an organic hybrid tomato plant can produce 15-16 kg of tomatoes on average. Other tomato varieties produce around 5-6 kg per plant.

A farmer can produce the Shrijana tomatoes up to 9,000 kg per ropani in a season.

The farm has been selling tomatoes and chilly at Rs 30 per kilo each. Similarly, bottle guard and yard-long beans are selling for Rs 20 and Rs 25 per kg, respectively.

Production of Shrijana hybrid seeds has been increasing each year. "In 2009, we produced 35 kg of tomato seeds and we aim to increase the production to 100 kg this year," said Bishnu Marahattha, one of the proprietors of Gorkha Seeds.

Marahattha said demand for hybrid seeds across the country is around 800 kg per year.

To fulfill the ever increasing demands for hybrid tomato seeds, Nepal has been importing seeds from India, Japan, Thailand and South Korea spending Rs 700-800 million per year.


Publication date: 6/28/2010


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