Mrs. Bishnu Thapa is a 42-year old rainfed lowland rice farmer with 0.8 ha land. She lives in Bhapasi Village of Mahottari District, Nepal. Mrs. Thapa is very innovative and always wants to try new innovations in agricultural system. Because of uneven rainfall, Mrs. Thapa finds it difficult to cultivate rice with. She struggled to get good yield in her fields. She also did not know the scope for other crops in rainfed lowland during the dry season that can meet her family demands.
Shift cultivation practices in fragile rainfed areas were implemented by STRASA project. Because of this, Mrs. Thapa has started to grow drought-tolerant rice with improved technologies per scientists' advice from the National Rice Research program (NRRP) Hardianth. In rainfed lowland minority ethnic group of farmers residing and have grown with traditional varieties with poor yield. There are problems of weeds, drought with erratic rain fall in rainfed lowland since last few decades.
Efforts were made by International Rice Research institute (IRRI) and National Rice Research Program (NRRP) Hardinath to manage rainfed lowland rice cultivation with drought-tolerant varieties in Nepal. Newly developed drought-tolerant rice varieties viz; Sukha dhan 1, 2, 3 ,4 5, and 6 have shown new hope for farmers in drought-prone areas which is nearly 30 % of the total rice cultivated areas in the country. Farmers were impressed with these rice varieties and were asked to provide seeds for further cultivation. She says farmers of other villages also wanted to grow Sukha dhan because it produces high yield even with less rainfall.
In 2013, NRRP distributed Sukha dhan to increase farmers' production and create rice diversity in such environment. The results were encouraging. According to Mrs. Thapa, the varieties could be an option to produce good yield with less water. She even approached the farmers of her village to establish community-based seed production for easy access to seeds and to also help the farmers increase their income.