Farmers elated as DAO starts sending SMSsFarmers in Morang are elated after the District Agriculture Office (DAO) started to disseminate various information related to farming through text messages to their mobile phones.
Farmers in Morang are elated after the District Agriculture Office (DAO) started to disseminate various information related to farming through text messages to their mobile phones.
Sarda Humagain, a farmer from Letang, said he got information about various crops and vegetables that could be planted in the month of September in his cellular phone, that too in Nepali language. “I felt as if I was visited by officials from the agriculture office,” said Humagain.
“I even got messages about preventive treatment for paddy and soybean. The message also suggested me on the use of different insecticides.” Humagain got all these information within a week.
Earlier, the farmers of the district used to complain about unavailability of expert officials from the office. However, things have changed now. “We are getting the entire information regarding planting, using fertilisers and disease control, among others,” said Humagain.
According to DAO Chief Rajendra Upreti, this initiation has significantly reduced the distance between the farmers and the office. “Currently, we are sending messages to around 500 farmers and we are still collecting mobile numbers of others,” said Upreti. “We are trying to make a database of the entire farmers of the district. We believe dissemination of such information will help increase productivity.” Out of 116,959 hectares of cultivable land in the district, around 104,331 hectares is used for plantation of paddy and other cash crops.
The agriculture office is planning to provide all kinds of information related to farming to the farmers. The office will provide information like appropriate crops for a particular season, uses of fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, and preventive measures to be taken protect crops from diseases, according to Upreti.
A month ago, Gokul Dahal of Sundardulari got a message about the notice published by the office about “Small Irrigation Special Programme” in his mobile phone. The message asked him to register a “demand slip” for the repair, maintenance and renovation of small dams and canals by October 7. The same message also asked Dahal to visit the office for further details. He disseminated the message to other farmers too.
Betel nut export nil
BIRATNAGAR: Betel nuts produced in Jhapa and Morang have remained stocked at a warehouse for the past year due to a failure to export. “We have stored the betel nuts bought from farmers a year ago,” said Ishori Koirala, president of Morang Betel Nut Development Organisation. “But we have not been able to export a single unit.” According to Koirala, low price in India compared to Nepal is the major reason behind the nil export. India has been importing the nuts from Bangladesh and Myanmar at cheaper prices. Traders of the region have stored around 3500 tons of betel nuts that was produced in the region last year. “Trees have started bearing fruits this season, but we are confused what needs to be done,” said Koirala. “Even the farmers will get far lower price this year—around Rs17 a kg, compared last year’s Rs22.