19pc growth targeted in paddy production

Kathmandu, April 21

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) has targeted 19 per cent growth in paddy production in the next five years. Based on the government’s 15th five-year national plan, the ministry had set a target to increase paddy production.

In the current fiscal year, paddy production has hit an all-time high of 5.6 million tonnes increasing by 9.8 per cent than in the last fiscal year. In the previous fiscal, paddy production stood at 5.1 million tonnes.

The bumper harvest of paddy has been achieved because of the Nepal-IRRI Collaborative five-year work plan (2018-2023), along with several other plans and programmes, said Tej Bahadur Subedi, spokesperson for the ministry. “We will be putting the same effort with newer technologies in the coming years for the growth of paddy production as mentioned by the national plan,” he added.

Besides, the growing productivity has also contributed to the growth of paddy production this fiscal.

As per the ministry, paddy productivity has reached 3.8 tonnes per hectare in the current fiscal, increasing by 8.6 per cent compared to the previous fiscal.

Subedi, however, said that despite the growth in production, import of rice has still been rising as people prefer imported refined and thin rice. Moreover, increasing population is another reason for rice import. As per the ministry, the country has a total of 1.5 million hectares of land suitable for paddy plantation, of which only 994,789 hectares of land is being used for the purpose.

Prior to this, paddy production had been declining till fiscal year 2016-17 after hitting a record high of 5.07 million tonnes in 2011-12.

As per ministry, four million tonnes of paddy was produced in fiscal 2009-10 and the production grew to 4.4 million tonnes in 2010-11.

Though production reduced to 4.5 million tonnes in 2012-13, it again bounced back to 5.04 million tonnes in 2013-14. However, production of paddy declined to 4.78 million tonnes in 2014-15 and further to 4.29 million tonnes in 2015-16, as per a report titled ‘Statistical Information on Nepali Agriculture 2015-16’ prepared by the ministry.