Wheat output in Banke down on low winter rain

- THAKUR SINGH THARU, BANKE

Feb 15, 2016-

Wheat production in Banke has fallen this year due to poor winter rainfalls and lower acreage. The fields here have been lying fallow since the rice harvest for lack of irrigation facilities. 

The winter drought has affected wheat production across the country, and the government estimates that output will drop by at least 6 percent. The estimate is based as of January-end, according to the Department of Agriculture. Likewise, paddy production in the district is down 16 percent this year due to inadequate rainfall. 

According to the monsoon report based on information gathered by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology from 21 different centres in the country, the average rainfall from June 10 to August 15 this year was 74.2 percent of the average rainfall of the past 30 years. Even fertile lands have remained barren as poor rainfall prolonged which is expected to impact the production of wheat this year. Fields in the Udharapur, Bageshwori, Titihiriya and Sumshergunj village development committees where there are no irrigation facilities are barren. According to the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), irrigation is available in just 29 percent of the farmlands in the district. 

“Due to lack of rainfall, the paddy production decreased and we could not cultivate wheat,” said Shatrudhan Yadav, a farmer from Khajurakhurda-9. Paddy and wheat are the two main crops in Banke. 

The wheat acreage in Banke is 19,000 hectares. According to the DADO, about 17 percent of the fields are lying barren due to lack of rainfall.  

“The production is bound to fall this year as farmers planted fewer acres into winter wheat,” said Krishna Bahadur Basnet, chief of the DADO, Banke. Farming is done on a total of 52,838 hectares of land in Banke. Farmers plant rice on 36,600 hectares.

Another farmer Agyaram Nau complained that he could not grow wheat this year as there was no water. “We suffered droughts during both the paddy and wheat growing seasons,” he said. Many farmers have installed tube wells for irrigation. But they complain that they do not get enough water to grow wheat. According to government officials, farmers don’t have reliable irrigation facilities as the Sikta Irrigation Project is yet to be completed.

Published: 15-02-2016 09:14

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