Govt fails to meet paddy production target

Kathmandu, December 20

The government has missed the paddy production target of 5.4 million metric tonnes in the ongoing fiscal year.

Though the government earlier was optimistic that paddy production in 2017-18 would not come down despite the unfavourable monsoon that inundated many paddy farmlands this year, a preliminary study conducted by the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) has shown that paddy production in this fiscal stood at 5.15 million metric tonnes against 5.23 million metric tonnes of paddy produced in fiscal 2016-17.

“Though the final report on production paddy is yet to come, it is now certain that we have missed the production target of the cereal crop. The production will hover around 5.15 million metric tonnes this year,” informed an MoAD official seeking anonymity. “The adverse monsoon this year seems to have ultimately affected the production of paddy.”

Along with increasing plantation area of paddy in the country and supply of improved seeds and fertilisers, MoAD had set a record high production target for the ongoing fiscal year against the previous all-time-high production of the crop in fiscal 2016-17.

The MoAD official emphasised on the need to promote commercial farming of paddy in country, properly implement Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project to mechanise paddy farming, ensure timely supply of seeds and fertilisers, ensure adequate irrigation facility and subsidise farmers in different forms to boost the production of paddy in the country.

Similarly, MoAD officials also highlighted the need to increase per hectare paddy productivity in the country rather than increasing paddy production areas.

The per hectare productivity of paddy in the country stood at 3.37 tonnes per hectare in the previous fiscal while the government has estimated that per hectare productivity of the crop in the country is likely to increase to 3.5 tonnes in fiscal year 2017-18.

Paddy productivity in Nepal is comparatively low. While China has been producing almost eight metric tonnes of paddy per hectare, Thailand and India have paddy productivity of seven metric tonnes per hectare and four metric tonnes per hectare, respectively.

As per MoAD statistics, paddy farming is done on 1.5 million hectares of land across 73 districts in the country.