MORANG, July 12: Farmers of the province are facing the same problem every year during the paddy transplantation season. The farmers, who have been demanding timely fertilizers and adequate irrigation for years, have received nothing but assurances.
During the yearly planting season, farmers have been sobbing. Their story is the same every time: shortage of fertilizers and irrigation. The government, which has declared to make the country self-reliant in agriculture, has never tried to understand the problems of farmers.
Farmers in Province 1 have been deprived of chemical fertilizers and irrigation not just this season, but in any of the previous planting seasons. Farmers in the Terai area still continue to farm using rainwater. Even though the government has recently made certain concessions to farmers, everyone faces the problem of voltage while drawing underground water through electric motors at the same time.
With the shortage of adequate water and chemical fertilizers, paddy has been planted only on 48.64 percent of arable land in Province 1 so far with 51.36 percent of cultivable land left to be planted, according to the Food Security and Agribusiness Promotion Division, Province 1.
Paddy has been planted in an area of 165,771 hectares in 14 districts of the province, said Abhimanyu Adhikari, Extension Officer of the Division.
"We have to understand which level of government will understand, listen to and solve the problems of the farmers," said Subash Sigdel, Rangeli Municipality-2, Morang. Farmers 'adversity never stopped at the time of planting.' Canal irrigation is not available everywhere. "Farmers don't get water or fertilizers when they need it," Sigdel said. He said that the problem of fertilizers occurs every year but why has the government not been able to give a concrete solution to this problem? How long will the farmers have to worry about fertilizers, seeds and irrigation?
Sigdel said that motor pumps to draw water would be provided free of cost to the local farmers through the Water Users Committee at Rangeli-2. In just 2/3 days, 15 farmers of Rangeli-1, 2 and 3 have been given water. Even though it is close to the border, Indian fertilizer is not good and is rarely used by the farmers here. When the government does not provide manure on time, some farmers are forced to use inferior manure from India, while others buy manure sold by the government by paying more than the market price. Fertilizers are brought from Bhojpur, Pathari, Itahari and other places by relatives or other means," said Sigdel.
Torna Katuwal of Sunbarshi Municipality-3 has also expressed concern over the same issue. "We have to farm on the basis of rainwater in our area for irrigation," Katuwal explained. If there is no rain in time or when it is needed, the farmers here suffer. Lately, the government has given some concessions to the farmers for electricity. "Everyone draws water with the help of an electric motor pump, which consumes more electricity and reduces the voltage." He said that not only the problem of irrigation but also the problem of manure and seeds remained the same. Complaining that there was a big problem due to the unavailability of irrigation, fertilizers and seeds in time, Katuwal said, "It is difficult to get the fertilizers sold by the government." Farmers are forced to buy fertilizers at high prices from the people who sell it secretly in the shops as they cannot get fertilizer.
According to the Division, In Solukhumbu the high hilly areas, 65.85 percent of the total area of 1,525 hectares has been planted. In Sankhuwasabha, out of 13,851 hectares, 4,155 hectares or 30 percent has been planted. According to the Division, 70 percent paddy has been planted in Tehrathum toward the mid hills. Out of the 10,175 hectares, 7,122 hectares have been planted in the district.
In Okhaldhunga, 66 percent plantation work has been completed. Out of 4,403 hectares, paddy has been planted on 2,914 hectares of land. In the Terai, 61 percent cultivable land has been planted in Jhapa. Of which, 87,500 hectares are suitable for planting and so far, 53,375 hectares have been planted.
Planting has not been done as expected in Morang. In Morang, of the 83,300 hectares of land, so far only 29,155 hectares have been planted. In Sunsari, 45 percent has been planted. Though 55,000 hectares of land is cultivable, 24,750 hectares of land have been planted in Sunsari so far.