Rice production likely to take a hit this year
Kathmandu, August 24
Unfavourable monsoon affected the paddy plantation in the mid- and eastern-tarai this year, which in turn has resulted in plantation being carried out on no more than 87 per cent of the total paddy cultivation area of 1,486,951 hectares across the country as of today.
By this time last year, paddy plantation had been carried out on 89.8 per cent of the cultivation area, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD).
The possibility of fall in rice production in the tarai has heightened concerns of resultant food insecurity. However, the MoAD officials have assured that installation of shallow tube wells has been accelerated in the five hard-hit districts of tarai, and there will be substantive output by next week. Normally, plantation works are concluded by the end of August and plantation had been carried out on 93 per cent of the total paddy cultivation area by that time last fiscal.
Paddy plantation has been carried out on 40.6 per cent of total plantation area in Siraha, Dhanusa (45 per cent), Saptari (47 per cent), Mahottari (60 per cent) and Sarlahi (70 per cent). Bara, Parsa and Rautahat along with aforementioned five districts have larger contribution to paddy production, which stood at one million tonnes out of total production of 4.79 million tonnes in fiscal 2014-15. Paddy plantation is carried out on 326,501 hectares in these eight districts, of the total production area of 1,486,951 hectares across the country.
In tarai, which is known as rice bowl of the country, paddy plantation has been carried out on 86 per cent of total production area of 1,015,933 hectares.
“Plantation in western part of Nepal — western, mid-western and far-western development regions — was not affected,” said Udaya Chandra Thakur, spokesperson for the MoAD, adding, “However, late monsoon due to El Nino phenomenon affected plantation in eastern and central parts.”
Lack of irrigation facility has long been considered as the major challenge facing country’s agriculture system, as per Thakur, “Only 30 per cent of total cultivation area has been covered with irrigation facility.”
In the context of development regions, far western development region has topped the list. Paddy plantation has been carried out on 99 per cent of the total area of 175,500 hectares. Western and mid-western development regions are tied for the second position, with each recording plantation on 97 per cent of the total plantation area of 324,566 hectares and 183,174 hectares, respectively. Likewise, paddy plantation has been carried out on 80 per cent of the total cultivation area of 417,007 hectares in eastern development region, and 81 per cent of total plantation area of 386,704 hectares in central developmentregion, according to MoAD.
In terms of geographical region, tarai landed at the bottom of the list with plantation carried out on 86 per cent of total 1,015,933 hectares. Meanwhile, plantation has been carried out on 92 per cent of 409,393 hectares in mid hills and 91 per cent of 61,620 hectares in high hills.
Paddy is a major cereal crop, which contributes 20 per cent to the total agricultural production and about seven per cent to the country’s economy. Over 60.4 per cent of the working age population in the country are involved in agriculture.