On the auspicious occasion of 15th Ashad(28th June), every year ‘Dhann Diwas’ (Literally translated as Rice Plantation Day) is celebrated at National level. All national and local newspaper are all flooded with news headline of Rice Plantation Celebration. Different I/NGOs, GOs, farmers’ group, youth clubs celebrate auspicious occasion with great zeal.
The joyous moment used be celebrated since prehistoric time but it was officially endorsed by Government on 2060BS(2003 AD) as an acknowledgement to farmers whose toil and hardship have made us survive. Not to mention, agriculture has highest contribution on GDP and provides employment opportunities to more than 60% of population.
Through our own eco-club The Eco Minions(TEM), we celebrated ‘12th National Rice Plantation’ Day at Dibyanagar, located few miles from Agriculture and Forestry University(AFU) where I am pursuing my agriculture study. This year’s theme was ‘Mechanisation in rice farming, cost minimisation in production’. The program was jointly coordinated by Upakar Bhandari and I.
Despite being located near district headquarter ( now it being recently included on municipality) and premier Agriculture University, Dibyanagar is still backward in terms of physical and economical development. Most of the I/NGOs are reluctant to go there due to being near the cities and Government projects often miss the place due to same reason. Nevertheless, they are one of the most helpful communities filled with realistic goals.
Before the day of celebration, we went for the field inspection and hold small community meeting with ‘Sagun Fresh Vegetable Farmers’ Group’ who were our major local partner. We briefed about the programs that we were going to have and encouraged them to call all the farmers and other people to celebrate festive. That was when we knew about the condition of Dibyanagar.
- Mud Race: By 10: 00 AM, we had our field all prepared. Then we held mud race competition for female and male differently. We have whooping number of participation for female race.Meanwhile, there was sparse competition for male race. I was bewildered by male participation.
- Rice Plantation program: The program was initiated by our beloved Dr. Hom Basnet sir. We planted the rice on the field and also played with the muds.This is the most amazing moment – Playing with muds.
- Farmer level quiz competition: The whole quiz session was run by Upakar Bhandari aka Nature Lover. We had 10 groups of farmers who were named after ‘vegetables’ like cauliflower, mustard, raddish, carrot, and list goes on.
- Certificate Distribution and Awards: After completing the quiz session, we had our award celebration program where prizes ( organic fertilisers, biopesticides) and certificates were given as rewards to all the winners of the competitions. Most noticeably, we honored three distinct farmers for their outstanding contribution in agriculture. WE honored them on three categories:women, youths and Innovative farmers. Also, we gave small packages of gifts to all the farmers who attained our program. We had presence of honorable Prof Dr. Dilli Ram Baral (Dean of Agriculture Faculty of AFU ) and respected Asst Prof Ram Hari Timilsina.
- Refreshment Program: We had then refreshment program. Dahi Chuira( curd and beaten rice) is the traditional meal of the day. Its highly encouraged to have them as meal at least one time on this very day. That’s how our whole program was wrapped up.
This way we celebrated our National Rice Plantation Day. But there are somethings that made me ponder whole day and after.
It is expected to have all the field already transplanted by Ashad 15. However, more than 75% were still barren. Thanks to erratic rainfall, climate change and inability of resource poor farmers to use irrigation/boring facilities( which are also inadequate amount). This made me scare while charm for agriculture is fading exponentially, such condition just add fuels to the fire.
And, we had almost nil participation of male. When we inquired about why are men not showing up, almost all of them have been to Foreign countries. When sons and husbands are all abroad , hardship of agriculture and family burden has come to shoulder of women. Women who are devoid of necessary training and knowledge. If this continues to prevail, i can’t imagine the aftermath and future of the place.
This is where we need to ponder. Bring back the lost charm of agriculture and show lucrative aspect of agriculture. Its time we rejuvenate agriculture and make farming communities prosperous.
I am thank full to all the helping hands. Loads of thanks to my TEM members and friends for cherishing with us and farmers. I do believe we have been able to bring close together academician, students and farmers together and celebrate biggest feast.