Rajbiraj, July 14, 2016:Â Paddy plantation in a large chunk of cultivable land has been badly affected due to lack of monsoon rain and irrigation in Saptari district.
Of the 70,000 hectares of cultivable land in the district, only 40,000 hectares is irrigated, while the remaining 30,000 hectares lack irrigation.
According to Saptari District Development Office, rice seedlings have been planted only in 10 per cent of the total cultivable land.
Bidhya Sagar Yadav, agriculture officer at District Agriculture Development Office Saptari, said paddy plantation was adversely affected due to water crisis in all three-irrigation canals of the district and less rain during the monsoon season.
â€œHardly around 10 per cent paddy plantation has been completed with the help of pumped water. Though some paddy fields in south-eastern belt of the district have been irrigated, almost all fields in the north-west belt are barren for want of irrigation and rain water,â€ said Yadav.
Farmers have yet to begin paddy plantation in about three dozen VDCs of the district, including Bode Barsain, Pato, Barahi Birpur, Fulkahi, Kodarkatti, Bhutahi, Manraja, Khadkapur, Arnaha, Bramhapur, Kabilasa, Malahaniya, Malhanma, Hardiyakataiya, Rampurjamuwa and Mohanpur, among others.
â€œIf there is no adequate monsoon rain till end of July, paddy plantation will be almost impossible in the district. Rice seedlings can be planted only in around 40 to 45 per cent land, that too only if irrigated adequately,â€ said Yadav.
Peasants complained that their rice seedlings were turning dry. â€œIf it doesnâ€™t rain within two to four days, planting the pale rice seedlings will be a futile exercise,â€ said local farmer Surya Narayan Yadav of Raypur VDC-8. For want of irrigation facilities, local farmers usually depend on rain water for plantation.
Ram Narayan Ram, a farmer of Saraswor-7, said it was difficult for them to save the cultivated paddy plants with pumped water during sunny days. â€œCracks have developed on the paddy fields and if the situation continues, we will starve this year,â€ regretted Ram.
75 per cent arable land barren in Rautahat
Without proper irrigation and low monsoon rain, only 25 per cent of arable land has been cultivated with rice seedlings in Rautahat so far.
â€œAlthough the government had said it would bring about a revolution in the agriculture sector, a large number of farmers have not been able to begin paddy plantation due to lack of proper irrigation facility in Rautahat. Farmers in the southern belt farmers have been hit the worst,â€ said agro-expert Paras Jha.
A large number of farmers have been compelled to use underground water, which is very expensive, said Shiva Mangal Pandit of Laxmipur Belbichhuwa. â€œThough the government has been investing a huge chunk of the budget in the agriculture sector, no results have come from it,â€ said Pandit. He added that although they had prepared their fields to plant paddy in mid-May, the fields were still fallow.
District Agriculture Development Office Rautahat Chief Raj Narayan Yadav said production of rice in the district will drop sharply this year. â€œAlthough a large chunk of land in the northern belt has been irrigated, the water supplied is not enough for the crops. The monsoon rain has not been so helpful either,â€ said Yadav. Of the total 112,600 hectares of arable land, paddy is planted in around 40,000 hectares every year.
While the Bagmati Irrigation Project has been a great boon for farmers in the past, the project has failed to work now due to ongoing repair works in the canal in various places.
Meanwhile, Chief of the project Rajendra Yadav said that adequate water would be supplied smoothly within two days.