Gandaki: “Just a cold breeze, no snow”, said Ash Bahadur Thakali, a folk of Thini village in Mustang. “Till this time last year, snowfall was experienced several times. There is no indication of snowfall this time around”, he reflected.
Mustang has not witnessed snowfall as of the mid-Winter season. Villages and settlements are seen drying up. The cliffs and ridges look dry and nude, not appealing anymore. In absence of snowfall, farmers are worrying of their crops. Their harvests are on the verge of drying-up in soil, especially in the areas having no irrigation facilities.
Thakali said winter crops such as uwa, barley, wheat, onion and potato do not show any sign of ‘yielding’ in absence of snowfall. The popular tourism destinations of the trans-Himalayan district which looked majestic with snow in the winter season now appear to be deserted, he lamented.
Deepak Lalchan, an apple farmer of Gharpajhong-2, Marfa, said moisture required for fruits and crops was lacking when snowfall was not occurring. “Most probably apple yield will go down when coldness remains inadequate”, he said, adding, “Marfa having irrigation facilities however is not in a worrying state”.
Nevertheless, farmers of Thasang which is a fertile land for barley are worrying of weather condition. There is no facility of irrigation in Thasang. The Himalayan life along with crops system has also been affected in absence of snowfall and rain. Lalchan shared that they were now experiencing warm when it was a time for bone-chilling cold. “No as such cold was felt in the mid-Winter”. Those descending to plain and city areas to ward off chilly days are also surprised to know ‘there was no snowfall in the high-altitude areas this time”.
Acting Chief of the Agriculture Knowledge Centre Mustang, Prakash Bastakoti said quantity and quality of the winter crops would wane when there was no snowfall and rain in the winter. “Production would drop if the moisture content necessary for flowering of apple trees was not adequately maintained”. He said, adding the farmers are awaiting snowfall for cultivation of potato and for already-cultivated barley, wheat and uwa to grow.
Bastakoti observed, “No snowfall till the onset of February could be because of climate change effects. If this trend continues to prevail new variant of crops would get entry in the Himalayan region. Production of indigenous crops may plummet”. Lately, the upper belt of Mustang has also witnessed the production of vegetable items such as cucumber and tomato, Bastakoti shared.
Not only Mustang, no Himalayan districts and higher altitude areas of Gandaki province have experienced snowfall in the season as of now. Even no rainfall has occurred. Chief of the Gandaki Province Agriculture Development Directorate, Basudev Regmi said the unexpected climate condition has direct bearing on the winter crops cultivated in the high altitude areas of Mustang, Manang, Myagdi and Baglung. “Loss and damage is incurred in the areas having no irrigation facilities in absence of snowfall and rain”.
Meteorologist at Weather Forecasting Division, Sanjeeb Adhikari said immediately there was no chance for rain in the Gandaki province areas. The prevailing weather system would not bring rain despite hazy skies, he added. RSS