No country for farmers
Buffalo milk is the only source of income for farmers in Kamdi village of Banke. But for six months during the pandemic, they could not sell their milk, and even now do not get a fair price.
Farmers take the rest of their milk to the Dairy Development Corporation’s collection point, but payment is slow. Local dairies also buy some to make dairy products but with the tourism sector which consumes most of these products down, milk sales have been all-time low.
“We sell some milk but the price is not good. Some days you get money, other times you don’t. We live in misery,” says dairy farmer Ramnaresh Yadav.
Tulsiram Yadav has 13 buffaloes and used to sell 20 litres of milk a day. “This is what us illiterate people do, raise buffaloes, sell milk, there is no other occupation,” he says. “Milk did not sell well this winter, sometimes even the dairy doesn’t buy, and we have no income.”
Uttara Manandhar has been a tourist guide, but lost her job after tourists stopped coming last year.
“I know of many guides who changed their profession due to the crisis. I got into teaching myself. But we still have an attachment to the tourism sector and find it hard to adapt to other fields,” she says.
She says she will get back to being a guide once tourists return. “In the past year I have been reading and writing a lot. I’m ready for tourists to come back so that I can share my knowledge with them,” Manandhar adds.