Friday, June 20, 2008

Achham Reeling Under Severe Food Shortage

Binod Thapa
Achham, June 21

Achham district is reeling under severe food crisis due to a sharp fall in production of winter crops. Chief of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) depot here Dil Bahadur Thapa said all 75 VDCs were facing food shortage and people there have been demanding food supply.
People in 12 VDCs of Pandrabis area and 15 VDCs of Chhabis area have started relying on wild roots and fruits due to the lack of food grains.
Production of winter crops in 25 VDCs of Bhaikh area, which has comparatively more fertile land, too, declined sharply this year, according to District Agriculture Development Office (DADO).
A local of Turmakhand of Baikh, Khadak BK, said people had been buying rice from Dailekh bazaar. But supply to Dailekh, too, stops after the onset of rainy season. "It is certain that we will starve once the supply to Dailekh bazaar stops."
"We are eating staple food only once a day. The rich may manage the food anyhow but how would the poor sustain?" asked Prem Bahadur Bohara of Bindyabasini VDC-9.
Anga Kadayat of Khaptad VDC said his family had been surviving on wild foods for the last few days.
The people do not have any stock of food and they would face an acute food shortage from mid-July, the DADO said.
A meeting of Achham DDC had declared the district as drought-affected a week ago and requested the World Food Programme to implement Food for Work Programme in the district.
There is no enough stock in the NFC depot as well. The depot has been providing only 20 kg of rice to each family from remote areas and 10 kg to families from more accessible areas a week. There is only 200 quintals of rice in stock, Thapa said adding that the stock would deplete within a week.
"We are tired of demanding more supply from the central office," he said. He said the NFC supplies only 2,700 quintals of rice to the district whereas the demand is 10,000 quintals a year.
Thapa said his office distributed 3,000 q of rice this year and has asked the Dhangadhi- based office of NFC has to supply more rice to the district.
The DAO has also urged the Ministry of Supply and the Ministry of Home to supply rice to the district, acting CDO Gyanraj Koirala said.

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