Although the Met Department forecast rain, the information did not reach farmers. Poudel adds that the rain has affected the paddy harvest adversely, but the exact damage has not yet been determined.
Sitaram Chaudhary, a farmer from Dhangadi, said that the floods have severely affected the quality of paddy, rice, and straw and even vegetable farms.
The government had been predicting records harvests of rice this year because of the favorable monsoon, but this week’s deluge may affect those hopes. This also puts tens of thousands of farmers at the risk of food insecurity.
However, agriculturist Rajendra Uprety at the Ministry of Agriculture of Province 1 says the damage from rains may have been exaggerated, and Nepali farmers are used to dealing with heavy rains and high winds affecting ready to harvest rice crops.
“Of course, there has been damage, but there are ways to salvage rice stalks even from submerged fields,” he says, “wet stalks need to be kept in a dry place, the paddy fields need to be drained, and the still standing crop should be harvested only after the rains stop. And we should all be helping each other instead of spreading alarmist information.”
Rice is grown in over 1.4 million hectares in Nepal. Last year, the country produced over 5 million metric tons of paddy, but still imported about Rs51 billion worth of rice to meet growing demand.
With this week’s late monsoon floods and unexpected rain, the 2021 harvest is most likely to be below target.