Record-high paddy production this fiscal

Kathmandu, December 26

Owing to favourable monsoon this year, production of paddy has surged to a record high of 5.23 million metric tonnes this fiscal.

According to the yet-to-be-released data of Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), which was obtained by The Himalayan Times, paddy production has gone up by 21 per cent this year compared to fiscal year 2015-16 when total production stood at 4.3 million metric tonnes.

Though the paddy production in the last fiscal had been hit owing to the border blockade that resulted in fuel crisis and supply constraints of seeds and fertilisers, the total production this year is still higher by nine per cent compared to paddy production of 4.8 metric tonnes in 2014-15.

The last all-time high paddy production was recorded in 2011-12, when the total production stood at 5.07 million metric tonnes.

Paddy, which is a staple crop, accounts for one-fifth of total agricultural GDP of the country. While the contribution of agriculture sector in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is around one-third, paddy accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total agriculture production.

As highly improved paddy seeds were supplied to the farmers, damage rate of paddy was lower this year which also contributed in increasing production, according to MoAD officials. “Productivity of paddy has increased to almost 3,300 kg per hectare compared to some 2,900 kg per hectare recorded a few years ago.

Government officials also cited the surge in paddy production to increase in plantation area this year. “Due to favourable monsoon, farmers planted paddy in larger area of land this year as compared to previous years,” a MoAD source said.

Increase in paddy production means that the country will import less rice in the ongoing fiscal year. As per government statistics, Nepal is importing rice worth more than Rs 20 billion every year.

However, production of other crops like millet and maize has not changed significantly this fiscal compared to previous fiscal. As per MoAD data, 2.26 million metric tonnes of maize and 306,215 metric tonnes of millet have been produced in the country in 2016-17.