DIRGHA RAJ UPADHAYA
Sachidananda Upadhyay of the midwestern agricultural directorate says, "Even without adverse weather conditions, the arable land here is not enough to accommodate the needs of the population of this region." Jajarkot, Neyulapur, Dang, Dhorahi, Tulsipur and Pyuthan are the major areas affected.
Farmers were not only unable to plant paddy on time but were also unable to apply fertiliser at the right time. This year in Banke district, for instance, 31,718 acres of land were farmed, 4,781 hectares less than the year before. Similarly, while paddy production was 131,400 metric tons last year, the drought prompted estimates of only 80-90,000 metric tons. This is now expected to decrease by another 40 per cent. Says Bhanubhakta Bhattarai of the Agriculture Development Office, "A loss of about Rs 280 million is anticipated."