Nepal - Banana farmers in Nijgadh devastated after storm destroys their crops

13.05.2022 205 views

Banana farmer Sadhuram Kharel of Nijgadh 9 lost most of his plants to a violent storm in April. A devastated Kharel, who has been growing the fleshy fruit for 10 years, isn't interested anymore in casting his ballot on Friday.

Many farmers in nine wards of Nijgadh have been ruined by the storm that destroyed huge swathes of banana crops.

On April 29, a heavy storm smashed down on the banana fields and felled the rows of plants that the farmers had been nurturing for a long time. Most of the bananas were ready to be harvested and shipped to market.

Luckily for Kharel, he has crop insurance. But he has no idea how to file a claim.

"The estimated losses may be at around Rs200,000," Kharel said. “The storm came and blew everything down. I am not excited by the election at all.”

Kharel had grown 700 malbhog varieties of banana on his 10-kattha farm. “All the plants bore fruit. The storm destroyed everything overnight.”

He is distressed that no leaders have come to see their damaged crops and listen to their woes.

Nara Bahadur Lama of the same village is also distraught. More than 75 percent of his banana plants on 3 bighas have been damaged.

The storm has impoverished 200 families in Nijgadh. They lost their crops just when the market price of bananas has hit a historic high.

The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Committee in Kathmandu has fixed the price of banana at Rs150 per dozen. Last week, the retail price had reached as high as Rs170 per dozen before dipping slightly this week.

Fruit traders say that the price will remain on the high side for a few weeks because of the damage to the banana crops in several Tarai districts.

Kharel, a former agro technician, says hundreds of families in Nijgadh have been cultivating banana for the last two decades, and the fruit has become their key cash crop.

Farmers had planted banana on 1,200 bighas, and the storm wiped out crops on 150 bighas. According to Kharel, preliminary reports show that the high winds and rain destroyed bananas worth Rs50 million.

"We have lost the matured fruits," Lama said.

Nijgadh has a high banana productivity. According to farmers, they produce bananas worth Rs500,000 on a bigha per season.

Many farmers have lately switched to growing bananas after cash crops like sugarcane and tobacco stopped giving good returns.

"The storm has ruined us," said Rupa Kafle, a technician at the agriculture office under Nijgadh Municipality. “We have been collecting data from all wards. A relief package should be provided to farmers who do not have crop insurance.”

The banana varieties mainly produced in Nijgadh are local malbhog, Jhapali malbhog and other hybrid types.

"Farmers get to save barely Rs200,000 annually by growing sugarcane," Kharel said. “Banana crops give us an income of Rs600,000 per year,” he said.

"Selling sugarcane and tobacco was not easy either," Kharel said. “But bananas are in high demand. Traders come to our farms and pay us in advance.”

Even beekeepers are giving up their business and switching to growing bananas because of the market demand.

At least 50 youths who have returned from foreign employment have started cultivating bananas on a commercial scale.

Banana farmer Ashok Subedi says banana farming is easy, pays well and requires little labour. “Due to the high demand, traders came to the farms to buy the crops. There is no problem about market access.”

According to Subedi, a banana farmer can make Rs20,000 per kattha by spending Rs5,000.

"Banana farmers who also rear cows, chickens and pigs benefit by using the manure as fertiliser on their farms," he said.

"While other crops require regular weeding, adequate water and fertilizer, you do not have to give so much care to banana plants,” Subedi said. “Farmers can also produce organic fertilizer from decaying banana plants after the fruits have been harvested.

Source - https://kathmandupost.com

20.05.2022

Dry situation in much of Northern Europe leads to concerns about early potato crop

Overall, markets remain largely unchanged, with sales and consumption settling back to pre-Covid levels. Digging of early Home Guard and Premier varieties have commenced in the south east this week, with small quantities available in retailers.

20.05.2022

Spain - The losses due to rains and cold in Valencian agriculture could amount to 150 million euro

After two and a half months of persistent rainfall, low temperatures, and lack of sunshine, the farmers of the Valencian Community are starting to see the real damage these weather events have had or will have on most of their crops.

20.05.2022

China - Apple production is expected to drop by about 30% in 2022

On May 11, strong convective weather occurred in many apple-producing areas in Gansu, and some areas experienced heavy rainfall and hail. In addition, apple-producing areas in Shandong have experienced multiple rounds of frosty weather in the past few days.

20.05.2022

Spain - We estimate that about 50,000 tons of fruit may have been lost on the island of La Palma

On December 13, 2021, the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma came to an end; undoubtedly long-awaited news that was widely celebrated, but an end that also meant the beginning of a challenging reconstruction process, necessary to recover from the damage caused by the 85 day long phenomenon.

20.05.2022

Pakistan - Scant hope for relief as repeated heat waves scorch

In Pakistan’s north, rising levels of heat have accelerated glacial melting, triggering the collapse of a historic bridge in the Hunza Valley, bordering China. In the south, weakened flows to the Indus river have resulted in a nearly 38 percent water shortage in Punjab and Sindh – major crop-producing provinces.

20.05.2022

USA - The disease killing millions of bats costs ag hundreds of millions of dollars a year

Bats play a big role in agriculture. They fertilize, pollinate and eat crop-loving insects. As the deadly white-nose syndrome kills millions of bats across the U.S., the loss is felt across the industry – and it comes with a price tag.

20.05.2022

Mozambique - Over 244,000 hectares of crops damaged by heavy rains

Just over 244,000 hectares of various crops have been plagued by heavy rains, flooding, storms, and drought in the Mozambican 2021-2022 agricultural campaign.

20.05.2022

Canada - Seeding in Saskatchewan still behind schedule due to spring rains

Rain continues to put a damper on seeding in Saskatchewan. According to the weekly crop report from the province’s Ministry of Agriculture, 33 per cent of the 2022 crop is in the ground, significantly behind the five-year average of 53 per cent for this time of year.