Summer cereal crops’ production projected to drop

Kathmandu, December 9

The production of summer cereal crops is projected to fall by 5.63 per cent this year due to the unfavourable monsoon and the shortage of chemical fertilisers caused by the protest in the Tarai, which has hit the production of major cereal crop — paddy.

The production of summer cereal crops — paddy, maize, millet and buckwheat — is forecast to decline by 408,629 tonnes this fiscal as compared to total summer cereal crops output of 7.25 million tonnes in fiscal 2014-15, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD). The total summer cereal crops output is projected to stand at 6.84 million tonnes this year.

The significant decline in the production of summer cereal crops, which contributes over 30 per cent to total agricultural output, is another setback for the Nepali economy, which has been largely affected due to disruptions in supply lines at the Nepal-India border. The gloomy outlook has made it quite certain that the contribution of agriculture in economic growth will be lower than in the previous fiscal.

Weightage of paddy in total summer cereal crops production is forecast to decline heavily as compared to previous years. As paddy production is projected to drop by around 10 per cent to 4.30 million tonnes this fiscal from 4.79 million tonnes of previous fiscal, its weightage in total summer cereal crops production is expected to stand at 63 per cent.

While paddy and millet have been projected to record negative growth, production of maize and buckwheat is expected to rise as compared to the previous fiscal.

Apart from late monsoon, which was nature induced, paddy production has also been affected because of shortage of chemical fertilisers at the time of paddy weeding due to Tarai protest. The MoAD has said that despite having enough fertilisers in the warehouses of Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd and Salt Trading Corporation, among others, there had been difficulties in transporting fertilisers due to lack of transportation facility.

Due to late monsoon, paddy was cultivated on 1.36 million hectares this fiscal, which is a decline of 4.38 per cent as compared to previous fiscal’s 1.43 million hectares.

Millet production also is expected to fall by two per cent to 302,397 tonnes this fiscal from 308,488 tonnes of last year. Production area of millet this fiscal declined by 0.5 per cent to 266,799 hectares. The total millet production was recorded at 308,488 tonnes the previous year.

On a positive note, production of buckwheat is expected to rise significantly by 7.1 per cent to 11,640 tonnes this year as compared to 10,870 tonnes last year. Production area of buckwheat increased by 0.2 per cent to 10,842 hectares.

Similarly, production of maize is forecast to increase by four per cent to 2.23 million tonnes as compared to the previous fiscal. Production area of maize also increased by one per cent and stood at 891,583 hectares. Maize contributes seven per cent in the agricultural gross domestic product.