It is a common assumption that the farmers are simple and meek, who follow the instructions issued by concerned authorities. But, seeing their strong decision on selecting paddy seeds that are not recommended for this summer plantation, they seem to be a bit arrogant.
Let me explain other aspects of farming before describing this particular case of farmers. It involves multiple components - farmers, farm land, workforce, inputs and proper climate, among others. It demands conscious and relentless efforts from farmers. They should know about the weather, quality of land, selection of crops in given period of the year, healthy seeds, irrigation, drainage and management of manure before plantation.
Availability chemical fertilisers and improved seeds is a must for high production. If a farmer depends only on organic manure such as the dung of cows and buffalos, or chickens’ droppings, s/he cannot get desired production. If a farmer is committed to promoting organic products, s/he must have the market to sell such products for high price. Otherwise, it will be another exploitation of consumers.
The famers fully depend on the government for the import of seeds of a variety of paddy, chemical fertilisers, and pesticides. Farmers seem to be happy this season with the arrival of monsoon on time. But like in the past, they have not got improved paddy seeds and chemical fertilisers. Timely supply of fertilisers has become a difficult task in the country. But the concerned ministries and departments, which have the sole responsibility of taking decisions on importing appropriate paddy seeds and fertilisers, have been unable to fulfil their duties. And they seek excuses every year.
Farmers, on the other hand, often prefer the hybrid variety of paddies and fertilisers because their combination boosts productivity. But, some verities of hybrid paddy such as DY-28 have been banned in the hinterland of Kathmandu. This is because they cannot get required temperature in the Kathmandu Valley. So, they cannot give desired production.
Despite cautions expressed by the authority not to use some types of hybrid verity, the farmers are planting the same seeds in the Kathmandu Valley, defying the suggestion. However, shopkeepers do not accept that they had sold the hybrid variety. But it has been planted in the farms at Chunikhel area in Budhanilkhantha Municipality. Now we can see the hybrid paddy sprouting in the farms there.
This shows that either the shopkeepers have played trick on the innocent farmers or the farmers themselves are not following the instructions given by the experts.
The unwillingness on the part of farmers to abide by the scientific advice indicates that they are not properly informed or the shopkeepers misguided them into believing misinformation. If the farmers have used unrecommended seeds and get low paddy yield, they will not be qualified for any compensation.
Last year farmers were given a hefty amount in compensation. If the farmers are losing faith in government bodies, the responsible authorities must strive hard to rebuild their own image.