In previous years, Nepal’s villagers would go to Haryana and Punjab in India this time of year after harvesting the wheat to work on the commercial farms there. They would earn up to Rs25,000 in two months.
The India connection in Nepal’s COVID-19 status, Nepali Times
“When they returned in time of the paddy harvest, the farmers invested the money that they earned in agriculture, but the lockdown has meant that they are short of cash,” says Chandra Kishor, a journalist based in Sarlahi.
The seasonal migrant workers, who belong to poor families, are now running out of food. Although local authorities are providing food for the neediest families, the food is not enough for those with large families. “How long can a 15kg relief package last for a family of 10?” asks Chandra Kishor.
With the Nepal-India border being sealed due to lockdowns ops both sides, farmers are worried about essential supplies like salt and oil, seeds and fertiliser that they used to cross over to India to buy.
As the lockdown stretches on, farmers are beginning to worry about how to procure paddy seeds and chemical fertilisers for rice-planting season, says Sanjay Gupta in Rupandehi. “How will we be able to plant paddy when the border is closed?” he asks.
COVID-19 affecting food security in Nepal: WFP, Nepali Times