Weak monsoon affects paddy plantation

Kathmandu, August 1

As a result of the weak monsoon in various districts, paddy plantation has been completed only on 77.03 per cent of total 1,552,469 hectares of arable land in the country so far. For comparison, plantation of this cereal crop was completed on more than 80 per cent of arable land within July last year.

As per the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), paddy plantation is yet to be carried out on a large volume of arable land in districts like Sankhuwasabha, Udaypur, Jhapa, Okhaldhunga, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Sindhupalchowk, Ramechhap, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Kapilbastu, Banke and Dang due to weak rainfall and this has directly affected the paddy plantation this year.

“Jhapa and Morang are the two topmost districts for paddy plantation and rice production. However, many fields are still barren in these two districts along with other districts due to scant rainfall in these districts,” according to MoAD sources.

As per MoAD, paddy plantation has been completed on only 72 per cent of 87,500 hectares of arable land in Jhapa. Similarly, only 55 per cent of 88,000 hectares of land in Morang has been planted with paddy so far.

Owing to timely onset of monsoon, the government had projected that paddy plantation would be carried out on almost 94 per cent of arable land this year. Moreover, MoAD had projected that paddy production in 2017-18 would surge to an all-time high of 5.4 million metric tonnes against the earlier record-setting production of 5.23 metric tonnes in 2016-17.

However, one MoAD source said that the delay in paddy plantation in major districts like Jhapa and Morang due to weak rainfall will directly hit the production rate. “Though farmers may plant paddy within a week or two after receiving rainfall and the paddy plantation rate reaches around 90 per cent, the delay in plantation will directly hit the annual production rate,” the MoAD source said seeking anonymity.

However, Tika Ram Sharma, information officer at MoAD, argued that paddy plantation figure is satisfactory as volume of arable land of paddy has increased this year as compared to the previous year. “The nature of monsoon in the next one week will determine the actual paddy plantation rate of this year,” said Sharma.

MoAD statistics show that paddy plantation has been completed on 85 per cent of arable land in high-hill and mid-hill regions so far, while plantation of the cereal crop has been completed on 73 per cent of arable land in the Tarai.

Plantation completed only on 77 per cent of arable land

Regions                Plantation

Eastern                 65.19 %

Central                 73.52 %

Western              88.90 %

Mid-Western     73.01 %

Far-Western      98.66 %

Source: MoAD