Plunge in Timur production worries farmers in SalyanAgricultural technicians blame fungus caused by untimely rain for poor harvest of the spice.
A year ago, Purna Bahadur Budhathoki from Shera in Bangad Kupinde Municipality-9, Salyan earned Rs500,000 by selling around 1.2 tonnes of timur.
Of his 1,000 timur trees, around 800 had produced the spice last year.
But production has declined steeply this year.
“The production this year is around 300 kg,” said Budhathoki.
Budhathoki is not the only farmer in the area who has witnessed a reduction in the harvest of the spice.
Dilli Bahadur Gharti from Nigalchula in the same municipality has nearly 400 timur trees.
Gharti shifted to timur farming from traditional farming, but the decrease in harvest has made him worried about his livelihood.
“I earned around Rs300,000 by selling around 750 kg timur last year,” said Gharti. “But this year, the harvest dropped to below 100 kg.”
Gharti depends on the earnings from timur to sustain his family of six and to pay for his two sons’ education in Dang, the neighbouring district.
According to the District Agriculture Development Office, timur production has decreased by half this year.
Statistics from the office show that 108 farmers in the district have registered for commercial timur farming.
“Production has decreased due to fungus caused by untimely rainfall,” said Roshan Sharma, a technician at the office. “Insufficient rain during the fruit-bearing stage and excessive rainfall during the ripening stage caused a fungal infection in the plants.”
Some farmers say the harvest this year is not even sufficient for their own consumption.
“I earned Rs 100,000 selling timur last year but the production this year is not enough even for domestic consumption,” said Netra Bahadur Basnet, a farmer from Majha Kharka at Siddha Kumakh Rural Municipality.
“Even the little amount produced this year was mostly eaten by birds,” said Basnet.
According to Bijaya Pulami, the technician at the Division Forest Office, Salyan the production of timur has gone down in community forests as well.
Of the nearly 500 tonnes of timur produced in the district a year ago, 200 tonnes were harvested from community forests and 300 tonnes were produced by the farmers.
Pulami said Timur production in the district might have gone down by 40 to 50 percent this year. “We are collecting the data.”
Timur farmers in the district made around Rs160 million last year.
The timur produced in Salyan is sent to major cities of the country and is exported as well.