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Hard to do ropai in Bhaktapur
The monsoon season has already hit the Nepali calendar. We go on hikes, bike rides, and most of the times we see rice plantation. Or let’s say our common tongue word – ropai.
Ropai has begun everywhere including the heart of Kathmandu valley - Bhaktapur. Even the season calls for doing rice plantation, the real ropai has hardly undergone there. It’s neither because of lack of water nor the seeds. The manpower required for ropai is not available these days. Due to that, the farmers are quite sad at Khwopa — another name for Bhaktapur.
And the irony stands, as Bhaktapur that is known as ‘the district of farmers’, is in search of manpower to do ropai this season. Here, ropai has not yet completed even at the end of Nepali month Asar.
The reason behind this scenario is the change in time where new generations are not willing to work in the farms. About this Ganesh Bahadur Thusa shares, “Now, everyone has their own work. Instead of working on the farm, they opt for alternative jobs as farming doesn’t pay them well in comparison to the hard work, one has to do. So, they cannot leave their jobs for farming.”
In the old days, the community would work in a team and this team would do the rice plantation in turn at each other’s fields. However, this year, the turn system is barely in effect. And this has resulted in less ropai in Bhaktapur.
At the present situation, farmers around Bhaktapur lament and recall previous years of farming. Dhankumar Swanghamikha is one of them. He says, “Even though there is steady rain, the busyness in family members has created a delay in ropai. And when everyone is free, the rain doesn’t happen.”
The farmers from Bhaktapur are fully depended on rainwater. It’s their only option since there are not any advanced facilities for irrigation.
Likewise, Ganesh Ram Suwal, local farmer laments, “The new generation doesn’t like to play in muddy fields. And even if we hire farmers for ropai, it’s really hard to get them in our budget, as their expectation is higher than what we could offer them.”
- by Republica