Farmers in Ilam are in trouble after the hailstorm damaged the kiwi fruit, which is becoming a reliable source of income.
Farmers are in trouble after the production of kiwi is to reduce by 90 per cent due to the hailstorm that hit last April.
This season is also the main season of ‘Red Kiwi’ picking. Farmers have also been deprived of good price as the production of red kiwi has declined.
According to the farmers, the hailstorm in Sulubung, Talgaon and Maimzhuwa areas of the district has damaged not only this year’s crop but also for next two years.
Taramani Khatiwada, a farmer of Sulubung who has been cultivating kiwi for the past 15 years, said that many farmers have suffered financial losses due to this year’s hailstorm.
After the production of kiwi started getting better, farmers of Sandakpur Rural Municipality have planted kiwis by destroying other crops “Farmers here have a big problem due to lack of income from kiwis. There is no relief programme from anywhere. The insurance company here refused to insure kiwi crop,” said Khatiwada. “Now the kiwi farmers are confused about what to do.”
The kiwi production of Gopal Khatiwada of Talgaun, who planted only kiwis till the yard, is also low.
Like other farmers, Khatiwada is unlikely to produce next year after snowfall damaged the kiwi trees with their branches.
“All the income came from kiwi. Now, about 90 per cent of production has been reduced, there is a concern about what to do next,” said Khatiwada.
The Agriculture Knowledge Centre and the District Disaster Management Committee have stated that the damage caused by hailstorm in kiwi amounts to Rs. 47.8 million.
The damage has been verified and sent to Ministry of Agriculture of the Province.
“We have studied the situation for the next two years and sent it for relief, but the ministry said there was no such relief programme. The information has been sent to the centre from the province,” said Toni Bardewa, chief of Ilam Agricultural Knowledge Centre.
“There is less damage in other areas of the district. In Sandakpur area, the production of kiwis is certain to decrease by 95 per cent due to the damage caused by the hailstorm,” he said.
According to Bardewa, there was a problem even when farmers did not insure their crops.
“It is very difficult to get insurance facility and there is no alternative for the farmers to avoid the losses as there is no insurance for kiwi,” he said.
Kiwi is cultivated in Sandakpur Rural Municipality, Maijogmai Rural Municipality, Suryodaya Municipality and Deumai Municipality of the district.
According to the centre, about 350,000 kg of kiwi was produced last year.
Source : TRN,