With Grace Of Monsoon  

Bhimsen Thapaliya

 

Nepal’s economic planners are buoyed by the fact that paddy production has witnessed a record setting increase this fiscal year. Monsoon is the main driver of growth for Nepal’s agro based economy and favourable rains this year has done the trick to the pleasure of the government report writers and the farmers. When the monsoon starts on the right time and when the manner in which it rains is neither too violent nor too scanty, the prospects of growth are high. This explains why we people start worshipping the rain god during droughts instead of putting faith on the National Planning Commission officials.

 

The year 2072 proved to be full of setbacks and retardation in terms of people’s wellbeing, calamity situation and the economic growth. Thousands lost lives in a devastating earthquake while hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed. Persisting series of aftershocks put the people in constant panic for a long time. In the aftermath of the quake, we saw a prolonged spell of drought that badly affected the plantation of paddy, the chief cereal crop and the engine of growth of the country’s economy. Last year, the monsoon rain did not come in time, and when it came belatedly, it was scanty and insufficient.

 

Due to late coming and inadequacy of monsoon rains, farmers were unable to carry out the rice plantations. As a result, large areas of paddy fields were left fallow both in the plains and the hills. It dealt a devastating blow to the people already hit by the major natural disaster. People faced a lot of hardships as existing water sources dried up and cattle were grazing in the farm where paddy crops were supposed to be growing. Had it not been for the generous support of the well wishers at home and abroad, the quake victims would have been heading to face a major food crisis. As if it were not enough, the people faced another round of unexpected hardship created by the Indian blockade.

 

However, things changed for better in the year 2073. The quake panic subsided considerably as the frequency of aftershocks thinned. The monsoon rains not only came in time, but fell adequately. The farmers were able to carry out rice plantations in time and they did not have to leave the prospective paddy farm fallow. Paddy harvests are made in Nepal around October but the sign of rice production is foreseen much earlier. Everything depends on the way in which it is raining. As expected, farmers were happy with bumper harvests this year and the economic survey takers and analysts declared that rice production this fiscal year has smashed all records in history.

 

Nepal’s agriculture is dependent on the grace of nature and we seem to have done little to overcome this dependency. We are talking so much about modernisation of agriculture, but there a lot to be done to make sure that monsoon deficit does not drastically hamper the total agro output. For that, we need to build adequate irrigation facility and provide necessary farming inputs. Advanced nations are producing good grains and vegetables in the areas that are arid and desert like. But we have been made too complacent with the grace of monsoon. Negative monsoon patterns seen time and again should give us a knee-jerk to do something to reduce over dependence on rains for good agricultural output.

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