SARLAHI, April 29: Maize farmers of the district are in a big problem as the hybrid maize seeds did not give them expedited yields this season.
According to officials of District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) Sarlahi, maize production in the district fell by 40 percent this season.
Dan Bahadur Basnet, a local farmer, told Republica that this season's yield was very unfavorable for the farmers. “We are not in a position to repay our loan and interest, leave along making profit,” he said, adding that fruits were smaller and bore less seeds this season.
“We were expecting to produce at least three to four quintals of maize per kattha. However, we are unlikely to harvest even a quintal (100 kg) per kattha,” Basnet said, expressing dissatisfaction at the yields.
Basnet had cultivated maize in his 7 kattha land as well as 14 kattha of land taken on contract basis. Similarly, he had cultivated the crop in additional one bigaha of land, promising to share yields with the landowner.
“My efforts and investment in one bigaha of land went in vein. Similarly, the 14 kattha of contracted land produced Rs 28,000 worth of maize,” he added.
Basnet had agreed to pay a fee of Rs 42,000 to the landowner.
“I had to face loss,” he said, adding: “Now, I will have to toil in others' field to pay the landowner.”
All farmers, who planted 'bunny' hybrid seeds, have similar stories to share. Indra Prasad Neupane, 80, also is disappointed by this year's yields. “This year has been catastrophic for us. It seems that the seed vendor sold us old seeds,” said Neupane.
“We faced similar circumstances some six years ago as well. Last year, we harvested Rs 75,000 worth of maize from just a bigaha of land. This year, we have not been able to make even Rs 40,000,” he added.
Kashiarj Hamal, a senior agriculture development officer with DADO Sarlahi, said that the office has taken low yields seriously. “We have asked the local units to collect data of farmers so that we can provide them some relief,” he added.
According to Hamal, maize was cultivated in 3,500 hectares of land in Sarlahi this season. Usually, each hectare would produce 7 tons of maize. This means the district would have produced 24,500 tons.
This year, however, production will stand at around 12,000-13,000 tons, he added.