Dry spell worries farmers

A view of the terrace paddy fields at Zhavame village. (Morung Photo)

A view of the terrace paddy fields at Zhavame village. (Morung Photo)

Vishü Rita Krocha
Zhavame | June 11

By mid-June, most farmers in Zhavame village would have finished transplanting paddy saplings, but this year, they are still waiting for the rains to start the process. “I have never seen or experienced something like this in my entire life of farming,” says 50-year-old Motesou Movi, who is nervous to see even rivers that feed their terrace fields running dry.

As opposed to past years, there are farmers in the village who have not yet been able to transplant a single paddy sapling this year for lack of water. The months of March and April are usually very dry but this has gone on till June, he observes and goes on to say that “it is worse than winter…our fields are all dry.” The delay in rains has also caused shortage of water in the village and its natives are now going a long distance to fetch water from ancestral ponds.

His 27-year-old son, Thorhü Movi would head to village every summer to help his parents transplant paddy. He was not expecting this summer’s experience would be any different. “It always rained so much during this time of the year and there were times I couldn’t wait for it to stop. But this year, I can’t wait for the rains to come,” he puts across.

“Those of us who solely depend on farming for livelihood won’t have anything to eat if the rains don’t come,” one of the farmers also commented. Meanwhile, Thorhü Movi goes on to say that “it should be raining heavily at this time, but it is hot and dry. This summer season has turned out to be a very different experience for me. We would have completed transplanting paddy saplings in all our fields by now.”

On June 9, the entire community in Zhavame village irrespective of denomination had spent the day fasting and praying for the rains. Led by the Head GB Sanyi Shupao, everybody in the village took part in it. That evening, he recalled that it rained but the following days, it went back to drizzling.

The Head GB is also concerned that the paddy saplings are growing too big for transplantation. “Our fields are ready. We are just waiting for the rains so we can transplant the paddy saplings,” he says. And because of the delay in the rains, he adds, “what takes us one day in doing a particular task is taking us 2-3 days.”

In Kohima, acute water shortage has always been faced by citizens during the dry season. There is however relief by May in this regard with the coming of rains. Generally, households would stop buying water by the beginning of May, but this year, people are still buying water even in June.

In its “Observed Climate and Climate Change Projections” in the Nagaland State Action Plan on Climate Change, it has projected “Increase in moderate drought like condition (onset of drought) for Nagaland during 2021-2050s, with northern states facing more drought weeks than the southern states.”

“The drought weeks across Nagaland are likely to increase by 25-50 percent in 2021-2050s with respect to current base line scenario. The projections also indicate higher flood discharge in the southern districts of Phek and Kohima, an increase of 10 - 25 percent more flood discharge is likely to take place with respect to current discharge rates in these districts,” it also stated.

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