Spring paddy ‘key’ to mega rice yield

Kathmandu, February 22:

Experts have said that extensive cultivation of pre-monsoon paddy (Chaite Dhan) can significantly contribute to the total rice yield in Nepal.

At present, the pre-monsoon rice cultivation sizes up as only 15 per cent of the total rice production in a year.

According to Bhola Man Singh Basnet, spokesperson for the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), pre-monsoon paddy which is also known as spring paddy, is more efficient, faster-growing and yield far more than the usual varieties of paddy.

The yield of the rice is also determined by solar radiation. “The higher the solar radiation the greater will be the yield,” Basnet said. In the process of solar radiation, normal or monsoon paddy receives 500 calorie per square centimetre per day after flowering whereas the spring paddy receives some 600 calorie per square centimetre per day. Productivity per hectare per day is 20 to 25 per cent higher in the early paddy due to higher intensity of solar radiation.

Retired agronomist of the Agronomy Division of NARC, Govinda Prasad Koirala said early rice can be harvested about a month sooner than normal rice. He, however, added that if the government provides irrigation facilities spring paddy can be extended to more places and thus contribute to the total rice production in Nepal.

Koirala also said NARC has been discussing the use of machines in Terai areas in order to cut production cost and also for the spreading of direct seeding technology which can be beneficial to farmers. Basnet said the preliminary data for the year 2062/063 shows that the rice is cultivated in an area of some 1.55 million hectares and that production is 4.2 million metric tonnes while productivity is 2.7 tonnes per hectare.

Spring paddy is resistant to many diseases and pests besides being more efficient in terms of lesser quantity of loss percentage during production. Around 11 varieties of spring paddy have already been released for the Terai, inner Terai and river basins areas and similar climatic regions. According to NARC, Hardinath 1 is a released variety.