Photo: Republica Collapsed banana plants in the farm of Laxmi Ram Acharya of Lalpur in Kailali
DHANGADHI, May 24: Strong winds have damaged banana plantations in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts, causing farmers loss of over Rs 44 million.
More than 800 farmers, who have planted banana in over 35 hectares of land, have suffered great loss as 89,250 banana plants ready to bear fruits have collapsed due to strong winds, according to Surendra Chaudhary, president of Kailali-Kanchanpur Banana Farmer's Struggle Committee. “As the plantations do not have insurance coverage, farmers are worried that their investment will go in vein.”
Sichananda Bhandari, a farmer of Rajipur in Gairiganga Municipality-4, is in distress as more than 500 banana plants in his plantation that spread over three bigaha of land as collapsed. “I was expecting high yields this year. However, our hopes blew with the storm. I am staring at a huge loss this year,” he added.
Chaudhary said that many farmers in these two districts rely on banana farming for their daily bread. “We have cultivated bananas in our farms rather than the commonly cultivated food grains. Due to the devastation caused by the storm, farmers will face great difficulty,” Chaudhary said, adding: “Thus the provincial and local government should support the farmers by providing compensating farmers for the loss.”
Another farmer, Laxmi Ram Acharya, has cultivated bananas in 10 bigaha of land. The storm has caused loss of Rs 2.5 million to Acharya. “We have informed the local authorities like municipality and ward office about our loss. Furthermore, we have also received a field report from the police,” he said, adding: “We have pleaded with the local, provincial and federal government for their support. We farmers can sustain in such scenario only with the government support.”
Agriculture minister of Province 7, Binita Chaudhary, told Republica that the provincial government has asked for field reports. “We have asked for the details of loss of crops and fruits by the storm in all the districts,” she said. “We will calculate the total loss and take needful decision to compensate farmers for the loss.”
She further added that storm and hails have caused great damage to vegetable, banana and mango plantations in the tarai region and wheat and barley farms in the hilly regions.
The minister also added that relief fund from the office of the chief minister can be mobilized for this purpose.
Banana farming is done in 1,100 hectares of land in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts. Plantation area is increasing with every passing year. Tikapur area is considered the pocket area for banana farming.