Climate Catastrophe Affects Farmers
The farm of 54-year-old Ganganath Bhandari of Helambu Rural Municipality-2 would have been stocked with winter crops if the flood on Asar 2 had not occurred. However, his farm is now a swamp because of the flood. Only stones, muck, and sand can be seen in millet, rice, and corn fields. According to Bhandari, potatoes had already been sown, and the paddy had been chopped.
The field was covered in a thick layer of corn. There would be 30 to 35 tons of heavy corn. However, the steady downpour of water abruptly changed into a flood, turning all the corn into sot tar, Bhandari recalls that day.
Residents of Melamchi have previously suffered because of floods and landslides. However, Bhandari claims, "We haven't seen or heard of floods with regions and 20–25 meter high terrain being covered."
Dumprasad Dulal, 84, a resident of Melamchi, has had a similar experience. In his lifetime, he claims he has never witnessed a flood of this magnitude in Melamchi and Indravati. Although there was a significant flood in 2012, the market was not significantly impacted. The only nearby fields that were lost in the flooding. Now that the stench of the floodwater has been discovered, Dulal stated.
Currently, Bhandari is worried about what would happen to regular Nepali farmers. The cause is that Nepal, which has a traditional farming system that depends on sky water, has experienced unexpected climatic disasters like short rains, heavy rains, intermittent rains, and sometimes droughts in the recent past. In addition, there has been confusion over what to do/not to plant crops when there is a sudden change in the character of the climate. It has been discovered that rain has begun to fall.
There isn't much change in the amount of rain that falls in Sardar annually. But according to Dr. Meteorologist of the Department of Water and Meteorology, who recently altered the way rain falls, the same water has begun to fall or not fall in the same way, says Indira Kandel.
The same happened to 70-year-old Humnath Choulagain of Chaurideurali Rural Municipality in Kavre. Choulagai claims that he was curiously unaware when he noticed that the paddy fields had all been destroyed by the heavy rains that arrived in mid-October. The day following Dashain Tika, I picked paddy due to the fierce heat, I was unaware that Kartik had seen such tremendous rain and a flood.
This year, there was an unusual change not in the valley and high alpine regions like Manang and Mustang. Bhim Prasad Magar, 50, of Kuncho village in Mustang, remarked that as a result, there is uncertainty over the best time and method for planting crops.
The monsoon season brought the first significant rainfall and floods to the traditionally dry regions of Manang and Mustang. Bhim claims he has never experienced Mustang's Bhel flood and high rains.
Double Whammy for Farmers
Farmers are currently dealing with unforeseen issues brought on by various climates.
Nagendra Dahal, a specialist in climate change, claims that those farmers who rely on sky water and grow traditional crops only using folk knowledge are compelled to face the brunt of it.
Winter crops have also experienced its effects. A new outbreak of potato blight was discovered in the Guranse village of Surkhet, according to Bikas Nepal, a meteorologist with the Agriculture and Climate Branch. This epidemic had never been observed in the area previously.
Only around 20% of agricultural output, or 25% of the nation's gross domestic product, is accounted for by paddy. After researching the harm that the recent unseasonal rains did to the paddy crop, the government decided to offer relief to the farmers. The farmers, meanwhile, have not yet gotten any aid.
There are 38 lakh 31 thousand farming families in Nepal, according to data from 2068. Numerous studies and investigations have also been conducted about the latest climate calamity. The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDY) under ICIMOD has calculated the impact of temperature increase on rice output in a paper titled "The Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture, A Case Study from Nepal." According to the study, Nepal's rice production will decline by 4.2 percent by 2100 compared to today if carbon emissions are not lowered at the current rate.
Additionally, according to the Department of Water and Meteorology, Nepal's yearly average temperature has increased by 0.056 degrees Celsius. According to the department's "Observed Climate Trend Analysis of Nepal," the country's temperature has risen by 1.68 degrees Celsius since 1971.
Dahal claims that soil dew has evaporated more quickly as temperatures have risen. He claims, "As a result, illnesses attack, the harvests are harmed, and the plants grow barren."
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published research in 2015 that predicted climate change's effects on agriculture would result in a 2050 GDP decline of 0.8 percent annually.
According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2020, climate change will fundamentally alter the structure of world food production and worsen the lives of the poor.
No one can deny that the climate is abnormal and changing. However, among the various projections, there is no solid evidence that these issues are brought on by climate change, says Amit Timalsina. It is undeniable that Nepal's climate has not changed, he claims. However, numerous other factors also come into play in addition to these. Climate change, however, could result in more frequent disasters. The hardest harmed are farmers who work with soil and water.
The National Agricultural Environment Research Center's (NARC) director, Tikaram Chapagain, claims that this problem brought on by the climate calamity hasn't been included in the measurement process.
|The Department of Water and Meteorology published a study that Included an Annual Report of the Hottest Temperatures in Nepal from 1971 to 2014.|
Unexpected droughts, floods, landslides, and extra rain all point to climate calamities in this way, Kandel opined. "Recently, both the rate and impact of such abrupt disasters have increased," the speaker claims.
According to Dr. Mani Nepal, an environmental economist, more accidents and agriculture will suffer if carbon emissions and other gases that raise temperatures rise at this rate.
|Nepal's Annual Minimum Temperatures From 1971 to 2014, According to a Study Undertaken By the Department of Water and Meteorology.|
According to experts, these occurrences will rise amid climate disasters. Climate scientists cite recent events like the extension of monsoon rains, low rainfall-related floods in Manang and Mustang, unexpected floods in Melamchi, and damaged crops from unseasonal rains.
The upper Himalayan region, rather than the mountainous region, has experienced the monsoon air of this year's monsoon within a week of its beginning on June 21. Experts claim that this has never occurred in Nepal before. In addition, on November 28, there was an unanticipated dry avalanche in Manang.
"Climate Adaptation Farming is the Only Option"
Dharmendra Biswas' 3 bigha farm of Sunsari became sand-filled three years ago after the Koshi dam burst and sand blanketed the entire area. In the sandy soil, he is currently planting tomatoes. Dharmendra, 48, states, "I began growing tomatoes on a technician's recommendation. I used to plant weeds in the wet season.
Whether the cause is political or natural, Chapagai, director of NARC, decided that the only way to address the confusion and calamity that has befallen the crops is to implement climate-adaptive farming systems. According to Narc, he is creating seeds for this purpose that can resist extreme weather.
The adaptation needed to deal with climate disasters and changes has also received specific attention in Nepal's Climate Policy of 2011.
Farmers Do Not Receive Information
The Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Research Council, and the Department of Water and Meteorology have all concluded.
The Ministry's agricultural information and training center, 753 local bodies, the agricultural mobile app, the agricultural development directorates of seven provinces, and other organizations received warnings of heavy rains one week before the damage.
Agricultural meteorologist Rameshwar Rimal argues that even if the sun was shining up until last week, it is not guaranteed that the information that reached the community did not reach the farmers. This has benefited the farmer's psychology.