Farming in the pandemic by Nitu Ghale

Photo: Nitu Ghale/

Shashikala Rai, 45, moved from Bhojpur some eight years ago and has been selling momos to support her family. The government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown and fear of infection have meant that her momo stall has to remain shut until it is safe again.

Photo: Nitu Ghale/

Not one to stay idle, Rai started planting vegetables, millet, maize, and soybean in whatever land she has in front of her house, as well as on the barren piece of land in her neighborhood, in Dolahiti, Lalitpur. “I fear there will be a famine next year,” she says. The land she is farming is not her own, but the local government is encouraging those who are interested to farm all barren lands and grow food. The municipality is providing 5kg manure, seeds, pesticide spraying machines, tractors, as well as a small grant for tracker fuel to help people like Rai.

Photo: Nitu Ghale/

Chiribabu Maharjan, mayor of Lalitpur hopes this will make locals self-sufficient. “There should be no empty land,” says Maharjan, “I hope this initiative will give those who have returned from abroad something productive to do.”

Text and Photos: Nitu Ghale @eastern_keen

Copy Edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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