Paddy plantation has been carried out on 42 per cent of the total paddy cultivation area of 1,486,951 hectares till mid-July this year, which is higher than the corresponding period of the previous year. Last year, paddy plantation was carried out on 38 per cent of the total cultivation area by mid-July, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD).
Paddy plantation was delayed this year due to the late monsoon and below average rainfall caused by the El Nino phenomenon. However, the impact of El Nino has been less in the far-western development region and paddy plantation has been carried out on 86 per cent of the total cultivation area of 175,500 hectares.
“It is already too late to continue plantation in high-hill areas, but it shouldn’t matter much as the contribution of high-hill areas to total rice production is nominal,” said Udaya Chandra Thakur, spokesman for MoAD.
Paddy plantation has been carried out on 62 per cent of the total area of 61,620 hectares in high-hills. Likewise, paddy plantation has been carried out on less than half of the total area in the mid-hills, that is, only 49 per cent of the total 409,393 hectares.
Rice produced in the high-hills and mid-hills has 30 per cent weightage in the total production of the country. According to Thakur, it looks like the total output will increase compared to the previous year, when production amounted to 4,788,000 tonnes because paddy plantation situation is better this year. Paddy plantation can be carried out till the end of July in mid-hills without affecting the output too much.
In the Tarai, paddy has already been planted on 37 per cent of arable land and plantation can be carried out till the third week of August in the region, as per Thakur. “Paddy plantation was carried out till the end of August in the Tarai last year.”
Tarai is also known as the rice bowl of the country, as it contributes 70 per cent to the total rice production. It also covers 70 per cent of the total paddy cultivation area of the country. Paddy is cultivated on a total of 1,015,933 hectares in the Tarai.
In terms of development regions, far-western development region has topped the list. Paddy plantation has been carried out on 86 per cent of the total area of 175,500 hectares.
In other regions, paddy plantation has been carried out less than 40 per cent of the total area. Western development region is in second position, with plantation carried out on 44 per cent of the total cultivable area of 324,566 hectares.
Likewise, paddy plantation has been carried out on 42 per cent of the total 183,174 hectares in mid-western development region. Similarly, plantation has been completed on 33 per cent of the total cultivation area of 417,007 hectares in eastern development region, and on 32 per cent of total plantation area of 386,704 hectares in central development region, according to MoAD.
Paddy is the major cereal crop, which contributes 20 per cent to the total agricultural production and about seven per cent to the country’s economy. Government data reveal that 60.4 per cent of the country’s working age population is involved in agriculture.
A version of this article appears in print on January 01, 1970 of The Himalayan Times.