MoALD hopeful on meeting paddy production goal

  • Floods damage agro products worth Rs 815m in Province 1
  • Data from rest of the provinces yet to be collected

Kathmandu, July 15

The delayed monsoon might prove to be a blessing in disguise for Tarai farmers, as the recent floods and landslides could have caused massive damage to their crops.

Hence, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) is hopeful of achieving its target for paddy production this year, as most Tarai farmers had been unable to plant paddy due to the delayed monsoon.

The ministry’s optimism may be misplaced though, as it is yet to receive the data of flood-related damages from all over the country.

Till date, the ministry has only compiled the flood damage data of Province 1, which has revealed that monsoon paddy planted on 65 hectares of land in Jhapa district worth Rs 6.8 million has been damaged by the recent floods. Meanwhile, eight tonnes of stored paddy worth Rs 280,000 was damaged in the floods.

Likewise, pre-monsoon paddy planted on 9,600 hectares of land along with maize worth Rs 664 million in Bhojpur district have been damaged by the floods.

In 2017, the floods had swept away paddy worth more than Rs 3.18 billion, limiting domestic production to 5.23 million tonnes compared to the government’s target of producing 5.4 million tonnes.

“Eastern Tarai covers a large share of the country’s total paddy production and the plantation is still to begin in this area. So, the production is unlikely to be affected this year,” said Tej Bahadur Subedi, spokesperson for MoALD. He further said that the floods have damaged very less area of the paddy fields in the Tarai and mostly affected the hilly region. As the contribution of hilly region is very less, there is no need to worry about paddy production this year, he added.

As per Subedi, the last week of July is a suitable time for paddy plantation in the Tarai region. And after this rainfall, the plantation will begin in these areas. “If the paddy plantation in eastern Tarai goes well, it will cover up the present production loss,” he said.

The report from Province 1 also reveals that the recent floods and landslides inflicted damage worth Rs 815 million on livestock and agricultural sector. As per the MoALD report, the floods and landslides have damaged maize, vegetables, pre-monsoon paddy, monsoon-paddy and cardamom mostly.

As per the report, maize covering 165 hectares of land in Khotang district worth Rs 11 million has been damaged. Likewise, fruits and vegetables worth Rs 40 million in Sunsari and Rs 87 million in Morang were damaged by the floods. Meanwhile, cardamom worth Rs 1.2 million was damaged in Panchthar district by the recent floods.

Likewise, towards livestock, chickens, chicks, cows, fish and pigs were killed in the floods and landslides.

However, the ministry is yet to collect the data on flood-related damages from other provinces. A meeting held in the ministry today has mobilised teams to the flood affected areas for data collection, said Ram Kumar Regmi, statistical officer of MoALD.

“As we will have to collect data on damages to the agricultural produce and livestock not only in the field but also in the warehouses and households, it will take some time,” said Regmi.

He said that the ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Home Affairs at the central level and local governments to compile all the flood damage-related data.

“We should have the data from all over the country and hence have a clear picture on the flood damages to the agricultural sector within a few days,” he added.