Asar 15 following the Nepali calendar is known in Nepal as the rice/paddy day and farmers celebrate this Ropai (rice plantation) festival planting paddy seedling and enjoying flattened rice with yogurt. All Nepal Peasant Federation (ANPFa) also celebrate this day as National Peasants Day organizing paddy seedling program. A grand opening program was organized in Seti Devi VDC-6 in Kathmandu where chairperson of ANPFa, Com. Bamdev Gautam was the chief guest and Leaders Prem Dangal and Balram Banskota; national committee members Ghanshyam Pandey, Jalpa Bhusal and Jiwati Poudel were among few important personalities present in the program. Peasants especially the local young women and men, media persons, ANPFa cadres, students and NGOs person were also present in large numbers to take part in the paddy seedling program, observe and celebrate the National Peasants’ Day. Similar programs were organized in various places of the country. Com Keshab Lal Shrestha and Hari Parajuli were guest in the program organized in Narayangadh and com. Sharada Subedi was present in Pokhara.
This day has been recognized by government as national paddy day and the government of Nepal also organizes program where ministers and high ranking government officers attend the paddy seedling program. Govt. of Nepal has considered Ashar 15 as National Paddy Day from 2004 and this year it marked its 10th Anniversary but ANPFa has been celebrating this occasion since a long.
ANPFa chairperson inaugurated the program in Kathmandu handing over the rice seedling to the women peasants. In his inaugural speech, he shared that, ‘agriculture is the backbone of Nepal and rice is the staple crop. Not only in Nepal but also in other Asian countries, the rice is our culture and basis of life. Therefore to ensure right to food and food sovereignty, we need to fight against all threats that destroy the rice fields and displace the farmers. We should defend our culture and territories.’ Mr. Gautam who is also the former deputy Prime Minister and chair of the national peasant coalition of Nepal ( and the farmers forum) highlighting the ANPFa struggle to pressurize the government for peasant friendly policy and program said that government has positive response to increase the budget in agriculture. In this occasion, the Chairperson also informed about nationwide campaign of ANPFa to save local varieties of rice and conserve rice culture. ANPFa has been also launching a campaign against land grabbing in South Asia to stop grabbing and conversion fertile land- he informed. The participants in the program also enjoyed eating beaten rice and curd (Dahi-Chiura) and singing folk songs (‘Ashare Bhaka’/Ropai song) which is also integral part of this festival of peasant.
June 29, 2013