RUKUM, Oct 16: Food scarcity has hit Rukum district as the late monsoon this year is delaying the corn harvest.
Fearing great likelihood of famine in the 20 village development committees (VDCs) of the district, the authorities have already turned to the government for assistance.
In most houses in the affected VDCs, corn hoarded from last year has already been consumed and the new corn stalks in the fields are not expected to ripen any time soon.
“Until last year, an annual dry season had impacted the villagers of only 10 VDCs, but the situation this year is a lot worse,” said Chief District Officer Arjun Bhandari, who is also chairman of the District Food Security Network.
“As immediate relief, we have already sent a quintal of rice to each of the most affected five VDCs,” he said.
Relief foodstuff has reached only Hukam, Maikot, Taksera, Kol, Jhang and Sisne VDCs and the rest are still hoping for the help to arrive.
Elaborating on the situation, Prem Narayan Bhandari, Rukum branch chief of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), said, “We are not being provided the food supplies we had demanded. We shall certainly reach the remaining areas after we receive the supplies.”
The Agriculture Development Office (ADO) estimates that the corn output in Rukum district this year will be down by 50 percent.
“Lack of timely rain has destroyed the corn crop in the district,” said Meghraj Thapa of ADO. “However, paddy won´t be affected to the same degree,” he added.
Mostly families from dalit and indigenous communities live in the affected VDCs of the district.