Here comes the rain

Nepali Times issue #203 2-8 July 2004:

The annual National Paddy Plantation Day on 29 June is not so much a celebration as it used to be. The rains are late due to the climate crisis, and rice fields are being over-run by urban expansion. But these are not new problems, the trend was apparent 20 years ago as this report shows. 

Excerpts of the article published on issue #203 2-8 July 2004:

Traditionally 29 June is the date on which rice transplantation should happen. The land is prepared, water diverted to turn it into a muddy pond, the paddy seedlings are ready. While those in the hills and Tarai use bulls and buffaloes to plough, the Jyapu people of the Valley till every inch of the land by themselves. Seedlings are planted one at a time in a backbreaking process.

They work from early morning to late in the evening, tending to the shoots until the monsoon begins. Had the monsoon arrived on time, the plants would be more than a foot tall by now and most of the weeds taken out.

Rice is not an easy crop to grow, it takes more than slipping seedlings into the mud. It needs so much water that only the monsoon can provide it. But when the rains are late as they are now, the farmers get worried. Already, frog weddings are taking place, and women are dancing, dressed as men. The weather gods are not amused.

The Met Office was no help, it talked vaguely about ‘isolated rain in parts of the kingdom’. Weak rains will resume this weekend, but its full force is not expected for another week.

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