By Our Correspondent Phidim, Jan. 13: With increasing attraction of farmers to tree plantation and farming, the barren lands of Panchthar have now become productive. The land that had been left barren due to lack of agricultural labourers is now covered with trees planted by the farmers.
Hundreds of hectares of land in Panchthar have become barren due to the migration of youth and lack of agricultural workers. Even though there is no income according to the cost, the process of barrenness has not stopped after locals stopped growing food crops.
Thus, some farmers are emphasising on cultivating trees as an alternative in their fields left barren for a long time. This has reduced the barrenness and restored the productivity of the land. Farmers who started cultivating trees have started making income as cash instead of benefiting from grain in the past. Farmers are growing trees in their barren private land.
Farmers are cultivating trees by planting tree species like Uttis, Malato, Saur, Kattus, Sallo and others. In the past, these species of plants used to grow and spread in the forest area themselves. With the expansion of roads in the villages, farmers have started cultivating trees as a cash crop. Thus, many farmers of Panchthar who have been cultivating for the last seven years have been able to earn hundreds of thousands rupees from selling the trees.
This farm is now providing income to the farmers and it has eradicated barrenness, said Sukpal Tumbapo, Ward Chairman of Phidim-2. Of the 41,196 households in Panchthar, 28,930 are farmers, most of them are engaged in tree farming, said Rishi Parajuli, Assistant Forest Officer, Division Forest Office, Panchthar. The practice of 'tree farming' is also preventing deforestation as farmers have easy access to firewood from tree farming.
Between seven and ten years after planting, farmers have been earning income by selling trees. Farmers have been planting new saplings in the same place after cutting the old trees. Farmers said that even if they get a little bit of income from trees, it will save a lot of money. Narad Rai of Phidim Municipality-14 is cultivating trees in 10 ropanis of land. He said that he earned up to Rs. 1 million by selling trees at once.
Farmers said that apart from planting trees, there is no hassle of weeding and irrigation and there is no problem of pests. Therefore, farmers are increasingly planting trees in the private land as a simple and reliable crop.
As a result, barren land is declining. Farmers here sell 4.4 million cubic feet tree annually, said Surya Magar, president of the District Forest Products Association, Panchthar.