Drought wilts winter crops in Ramechhap

Ramechhap, December 1

Crops grown on Gunja Bahadur Shrestha’s farm in Manthali Municipality used to be enough for his entire family throughout the year. This year, however, his family is struggling to manage meals after the protracted drought destroyed his crops.

Shrestha said the drought had damaged split gram and buck wheat, among others, cultivated in the field. “Now, the field has turned barren as the entire winter crops have wilted,” Shrestha bemoaned.

Shrestha said his village Nalami had lost its charm and beauty after the crops dried up in November. Winter crops have wilted in most of the villages in southern Ramechhap.

Balram Thapa from Manthali said nothing was left to be harvested after the drought destroyed all the winter crops. “Some farmers cultivated millet, but except for that, all other crops have wilted,” Thapa added.

“Earlier, the farmers grew beans enough for personal consumption as well as export to other places,” Thapa said.

Local Kamal Tamang said farmers from Betini, Kuvinde and Hulakdanda used to export a large amount of beans to other districts. The beans used to be exported to Pokhara and Kathmandu, among other places.

Tamang recalled that a single family used to sell up to 12 muri beans each season, but now he complains that the locals might not even have seeds to cultivate next year.

Pitambar Shrestha of Manthali said they had to rely on vegetables and beans brought in from Tarai and Kathmandu this year.

Only 30 per cent land in Ramechhap has access to irrigation facility.

According to Shrestha, livestock graze on the fields till the onset of monsoon for five months from December to May.

No rainfall has been recorded in the southern belt of the district for the past few months.