Farmer perspectives from Manang

A good day! Ali had slept well and no more diarrhoea or nose bleeds! We were all able to appreciate the stunning mountain scenery here and also meet and film interviews with some local people. Bhim, the ACAP conservation officer was very good. He accompanied us down to some local fields where we filmed people at work and briefly interviewed a local farmer.

“Right now he is saying he is working in the farm, he’s spending his life on the farm and he’s saying that he’s seeing the glacier of Gangapurna Lake is decreasing year by year but he has not any concern whether the glacier is decreasing or increasing, nothing for him. He is a typical farmer. There are many farmers like this living in this village. He’s not well educated and he’s concerned with his living only, not for environment, not for other things.”

“I have nothing to ask and no opinion. We are the workers of the farm. And I am happy with the way things are.” Local farmer, Manang
“I have nothing to ask and no opinion. We are the workers of the farm. And I am happy with the way things are.” Local farmer, Manang

We then walked over to Gangapurna lake. This lake has formed over the last 20 years or so from the melting of the Gangapurna glacier.

Gangapurna glacier and lake. The latter has formed over the last 20 years with melting of the glacier
Gangapurna glacier and lake. The latter has formed over the last 20 years with melting of the glacier

After lunch we met with Sonam Chhiring Ghale and Sonam Chhiring Gurung, both farmers and lodge owners. These are both smart farmers, who talked about more erratic rainfall patterns over the last 20 years, which have resulted in an irrigation scheme supported by ACAP. Big issues are declining snow levels and loss of forest cover. They can’t control the loss of snow and the melting of the Gangapurna glacier but there is potential to manage forest cover. However this requires support to introduce fencing to control animals that presently free-range and to protect trees that are planted.

Sonam Chhiring Gurung, local farmer and owner of Manang Hotel, at home with his wife. He and Sonam Chhiring Ghale talked about higher temperatures, more erratic rainfall patterns, less snow and loss of forest cover
Sonam Chhiring Gurung, local farmer and owner of Manang Hotel, at home with his wife. He and Sonam Chhiring Ghale talked about higher temperatures, more erratic rainfall patterns, less snow and loss of forest cover

“When I was 10 or 12 years old the lake near the Gangapurna Glacier was very small, the glacier was a massive chunk of ice. But now everything is gone. The lake has enlarged massively. The receding of the glacier is progressing leaving the bare rocks behind.” Sonam Gurung

“Of course we understand that the entire earth is warming up. We know from what we have observed from Kathmandu. The increase in traffic has resulted in the formation of the smog in the atmosphere. When we were small the atmosphere of Pokhara was smog free, but just within a span of 10-12 years we see the change. The same polluted air will travel to the high mountain places. The dark smokes that we see coming here in the evening is that very smog from low land. It is this polluted air of the lowland that has melted the snow. We need to plant the trees and see how we can protect our environment. That’s what we need to do.” Sonam Ghale

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