MoAD proposes 'paddy mission'
KATHMANDU, July 9
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) has proposed ‘Paddy Mission Programme’ in a dozen high yielding districts. The move is aimed at making the country self-reliant on rice within three years as rice import has been gradually rising in recent years.
Paddy Mission Programme, proposed for the fiscal budget of 2015-16, plans to spend Rs 200 million over the next three fiscal years. MoAD aims to have surplus production of rice by the time the programme draws to an end.
Twelve districts, namely, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Parsa, Bara, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur have been proposed to roll out the programme. These districts are high yielding districts for rice. According to MoAD, paddy is grown two times — from April to June and July-August to October-November — in a year.
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Under the paddy mission, the government will spend Rs 40 million for training, mechanisation, shallow tube-wells for irrigation, and high quality seeds, among others in the next fiscal year. The paddy mission programme aims to lower the rice import bill to Rs eight billion from Rs 14 billion (estimated for this fiscal) by next fiscal year and to Rs two billion by fiscal 2016-17. In the third year, 2017-18 there will be surplus rice production in the country, according to Udaya Chandra Thakur, spokesperson for MoAD.
“The programme aims to increase the production of rice from 3.3 metric tonnes per hectare of national average to four metric tonnes per hectare by 2017-18.”
Currently, the country requires 3.23 tonnes of rice (edible) to feed its population and the total production of the country stood at 2.58 tonnes as per this fiscal’s figure. It is estimated that the country will be required to import 632,000 tonnes of rice worth Rs 14 billion this fiscal, according to MoAD.
“It’s such an irony that we have to import rice when we have an agriculture based economy, with 60.4 per cent of the working age population involved in the sector.”