The effect of uncertain weather
Furafutti Sherpa showing the wooden boxes which were earlier safe to store the potatoes she harvested. Photo: Oxfam
Furafutti Sherpa who lives 2600 meters above the sea level in Charikharka, Manjo village, is surprised to see heavy rainfall, drought, and hailstorm affecting the yield of her potatoes. The change in weather pattern has affected apple farming too with irregular snowfall damaging the plants.
The region has also been witnessing growth of crops that normally grow in tropical climate. “I’m seeing carrots, cabbages, and cauliflowers growing in Manjo and other villages; it was not possible when I was young,” Furafutti says. She thinks that lesser snowfall in the Himalayas is the reason for the new vegetation. “Look at that mountain. When I was a kid, it used to be all covered by snow but today there is not even half of it,” she says.
This change in the weather pattern has confused her. Although the potatoes came out bigger this time than before, she does not know if this will be the case next time. She also has challenges storing her harvest. Earlier, wooden boxes were enough to keep the potatoes safe but now as the temperature is rising, she worries that the potatoes would rot.
Nepali farmers like Furafutti have been facing the effects of global warming and climate change such as drought, landslide, and floods impacting the agricultural sector. This is mostly because Nepali farmers heavily rely on the monsoon rains for irrigation.
Nepal has only recently ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change but it has a long way to go as the present policies are insufficient to curb the effects of climate change.