Nepal: Harvesting of wheat during COVID 19 pandemic

COVID 19 has created a chain of disruptions in most of the sectors in the country due to the lockdowns, and agriculture is one of the worst hit sectors.

Though COVID 19 has not been reported in the villages, people are following the government directives. There are restrictions on people’s movement from one village to another village. But there is no any restriction on doing agriculture practices like harvesting and other intercultural practices.

Small holder farmers like Ms. Tara Bhandari of Badhaiyatal Rural Municiplaity-8, Kalika, Bardiya have managed to harvest the trial crop (wheat of variety Bijaya) by themselves even in this situation. Sowing was done on 21st November, 2019 and harvesting was done on 11th April 2020. Harvesting of wheat crop in Kalika village has started.

In Tara’s group there are 2 research trials of wheat. Altogether there were 6 farmers in the village engaged directly in the On Farm Adaptive Research (OFAR). However, in this current situation the gathering of group members are not allowed. Though, the Village Resource Persons (VRP) are unable to monitor the harvesting and data collection on yield and straw, the farmer households will support the VRPs in data collection whenever it becomes feasible to do so. As per the preliminary observation from Mrs. Bhandari, the yield of Bijaya wheat at her trial plot is very good as compared with local wheat production in the village. However, the final yield data will be available after the lock down situation is ended.

There many smallholder farmers who are worried on availability of inputs which has to be bought from market and marketing of the harvested crops.