Kathmandu, May 4 : The whole country is in lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19. But the farmers in the Kaanth area (outer rim area within the Kathmandu Valley) are busy in the fields harvesting wheat and picking vegetables as well as cultivating. People can be seen in the fields digging out potato, harvesting wheat and cultivating maize at this time.
“We have to carry out our farming activities. We will have nothing to eat if we sit inside home saying there is lockdown; we are farmers after all,” said Santa Phuyal of Alapot, Kageshwori Manohara municipality-2.
Open space and farmland is still found in the fringe areas of the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. The fields in the north-eastern area like Kageshwori Manohara, Shankharapur, Gokarneshwor and those in the north like Tokha and Budhanilkantha are yellow with ripening wheat.
Farm labourers from the Tarai region of Nepal as well as Bihar state in India used to come to Kathmandu during the wheat harvesting season in the previous year. But this year there are only negligible farm workers from these places due to the lockdown.
The local levels too have urged farmers to carry out their farming activities in a safe manner amidst the fear of COVID-19.
Gokarneshwor municipality spokesman Manoj Kumar Dhungana said the Municipality has urged the farmers to follow all the health safety protocols while carrying out farm activities. They have been urged not to crowd and maintain physical distancing.
He said the related municipality’s ward offices have been directed to carry out monitoring in this regard.
Although the lockdown was enforced in a more strict manner in the beginning in the Kaanth areas, it has been somewhat relaxed in view of the harvest and farming season.
Hundreds of people can be seen working in the fields and farms at Bagmati, Kageshwori, Manohara, Ghattekhola, Rudramati, Bishnumati river corridor.
Similarly, farmers in the Kaanth areas as Trakeshwor and Nagarjun to the north-west, Chandragiri to the west, Kirtipur and Dakshinkali to the south are busy in farming activities in their fields.