Farmers cancel plans to plant spring paddyLack of irrigation has forced the farmers of the district to abandon the farming of spring paddy, one of the major sources of food grain for the farmers of the region.
Lack of irrigation has forced the farmers of the district to abandon the farming of spring paddy, one of the major sources of food grain for the farmers of the region.
This began when paddy seedlings overgrew as they could not be planted due to lack of irrigation. The paddy seedlings should be planted within 20 to 25 days after seeds are sowed but the land was not ready for the plantation.
Now farmers like Khem Bhadur Basnet, resident of Bhimdatta Municipality of Kanchanpur are grazing their buffalo on the paddy seedling bed instead.
He waited a long time for water from the canal under the Mahakali Irrigation Project but the paddy saplings grew too old to be planted.
“The authorities had promised water supply to the canal by mid-April after cleaning the canal but that didn’t happen,” said Basnet. “I had no other option expect to use the bed to graze my cattle.”
Shyam Thapa, another farmer from the same locality is also using the paddy sapling to feed his cattle. “The saplings have grown too old and if it is planted now the productivity will decrease by 50 percent,” said Thapa. “Therefore, I dropped the idea of planting spring paddy.”
The irrigation project stopped supplying water at the canal right before the farmers were about to plant spring paddy, negatively affecting the poor farmers of the area. While some of the farmers have used the saplings to feed their cattle, some are still hopeful that there will soon be water in the canal. But their paddy seedling bed is drying up very fast.
As a result the productivity will be very low even if they cultivate the crop. Although the project has starting supplying some water in the main canal form Friday, there is no water in the branches through which the paddy fields receive water.
“This is not the first time where we are not getting irrigation facility to plant spring paddy,” said Thapa who is planting this crop for last 12 years. “Therefore, I have reduced the cultivation area by half and other farmers have done the same.”
According to District Agricultural Development Office, Kanchanpur the district recorded spring paddy plantation at 100 hectares of land till last year. But this year the plantation has been completed on only 10 percent of that land.
Spring paddy is planted in 35 districts in between mid-March and mid-April. Plantation of this crop, however, is not common because it requires better irrigation facilities. As a result, most of the cultivators prefer to grow paddy during summer when there is abundant rain.
Currently, around 1.42 million hectares of land in the country are suitable for growing paddy. But spring paddy is planted on only 112,000 hectares.
Despite low acreage, productivity of spring paddy is high, with harvests standing at 4 tonnes per hectare, as against 3.17 tonnes for regular summer paddy.