Rains, hail come both as boon and bane for Sarlahi farmers

Published On: February 10, 2019 09:16 AM NPT By: Tanka Chhetri

SARLAHI, Feb 10: The farmers who had endured drought for six months – from July to January - were delighted with the heavy rainfall on Saturday morning, hoping that it would increase the productivity of their crops. They hope the rains would help crops like sugarcane, wheat and chaite dhan (pre-monsoon paddy). 

Sugarcane farmers in the northern region of the district, who do not have access to irrigation facilities, were delaying their cultivation waiting for cold weather needed to grow sugarcane. The rainfall and hailstones have elated them.

Kapil Muni Mainali, President of Nepal Sugarcane Producer Federation, said: “Sugarcane farmers have been delighted by the weather as this will make sugarcane juicer. It will help increase the farmers' earning.” 

Last year, Sarlahi district had produced the greatest amount of sugarcane among the districts where sugarcane is cultivated. 

On the flip side, farmers cultivating vegetables, pulses and mustard were worried as their crops were badly hit by the rain and hailstones.
Laxman Raya, a farmer from Dhangada who had cultivated pulses and mustard, said: “All of my investment and hard work have gone in vain.”

“This will create a deep financial instability for me and my peers who have been cultivating similar crops,” he added. 
Likewise, the brick factories in the region have also endured losses due to heavy rainfall and hail. 

“We have lost millions of rupees due to the heavy rainfall and hail,” said Methur Chaudary, president of Sarlahi Brick Entrepreneurs' Association. 

The heavy rainfall and hailstones have damaged the unbaked bricks, he claimed. 
Brick kiln owners have estimated the loss to be 25 percent of its actual market price. The bad weather has rendered the coal and firewood used in furnaces of the brick factories useless, they have claimed. 

There are 80 brick factories currently operating in the district. Chaudhary claimed that each factory has endured a loss of about Rs 2 million.

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