Farmers in Khuttedangi in ward no. 9 of Mechinagar municipality have earned Rs. 5 million from the sale of water melon during the lockdown. The farmers here have started growing water melon in their maize fields, against the traditional way of growing the juicy fruit only in the river beds. Since last year, the farmers here have been following lead farmer Dilli Prasad Upetri who has been growing water melons in paddy and maize fields.
Upreti also made an income of Rs. 1.5 million from water melon sales this year. Almost every farmer household in his locality earned between one to ten lakhs from water melon farming. A dozen farmers in the neighbourhood made an income of 5 million rupees, said Upreti. Maize fields this year were used to grow water melons. Water melon plants bear fruit in 90 days of planting of the sapling. Last year, water melon sold at Rs. 50 per kg but it was only Rs. 30 per kg due to the lockdown this year. However, farmers still made good profit. Without, the lockdown the profit would have been two-fold, he said.
Water melons produced here is sold in Jhapa district as well as in Itahari, Dharan and Biratnagar cities. Upetri had also been selling water melon saplings to farmers as far as Chitwan, Bara, Siraha and Nawalparasi. He had sold 60,000 saplings of water melon this year.