Food crisis hits Chepangs hard

Chitwan, May 27

The Chepang people residing in the hilly part of Chitwan are finding it difficult to manage two square meals a day.

Having a plate of rice for lunch is just a dream for them. Filling empty stomach with whatever they can manage is their utmost concern these days. Pahalman Chepang of Korak, Rapti Municipality said food crisis has gripped the entire Chepang settlement.

Chepangs are a tribal group who primitively survive on forest products such wild fruits, leaves, tubers and roots.  “Our storehouse is empty and wild fruits and roots are also unavailable here this season,” Pahalman said.

Kopila Chepang of Kaule said food crisis is common fate of the Chepang people.

Padam Bahadur Chepang said the problem is not new. “Instead, it is the situation we face six months in a year.”  According to him, their food stock has already emptied and the harvest season is yet to arrive.

Ward No 6 Chair at Ichhamanakamana Rural Municipality Bhupendra Chepang said no one in the village is unaffected by the shortage of food this season. Discussions are under way to find alternatives for livelihood in this period, he added.

Life becomes tougher here from mid-May to mid-July as harvest time is awaited and kitchen gardens turn into desert fields. Wild fruits are also not available. Crops and grains in the storehouse are sufficient only for just six months.