Heavy hailstorm damages crops in Thimi

Bhaktapur, October 29

Krishna Shrestha, 46, of Madhayapur Thimi Municipality, had never felt so dejected until last night’s heavy hailstorm damaged his rice crop, which was ready for harvest.

“We were excited about the prospect of a higher rice yield this year, but the hailstorm last night dashed all our hopes,” Shrestha said. “I have no idea how I am going to feed my family,” he added, looking at  the damaged crop in his rain-soaked paddy field in Manohara.

Residents of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality are highly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Around 85 per cent of locals are farmers, with 70 per cent of the total land area of the municipality still being used for farming. The hailstorm last night lashed Nagadesh, Manohara and Bode areas that have highly fertile land.

Reports show that paddy cultivation in Nepal this year has drastically increased, much to the joy of farmers. However, the hailstorm has left Thimi locals in anguish.

Goma Giri, who has been living in Sano Thimi for nine years has been tilling someone else’s field on lease. Now she is worried how she would pay the rent and cover other costs she incurred while cultivating paddy.

“I was hoping to harvest 20 muri (1,200 kg) rice this year, but now I am sure the yield would hardly be two muri (120 kg). That will not even cover the cost of cultivation,” Giri rued.

There are hundreds of others in the area who have met her fate .

Anjana Devi Madhikarmi, deputy mayor of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, said they would soon convene a municipal meeting to figure out ways to address the farmers’ plight. “We will work out the number of affected farmers and will try to compensate them for their losses,” she added. The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology said the hailstorm was concentrated on limited areas of northeastern part of Kathmandu Valley, including parts of the municipality.