Kathmandu, July 9
Paddy plantation has been severely affected across the country this year owing to lack of adequate rainfall, especially in the Tarai belt.
As per the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, paddy plantation was completed across 23.76 per cent of arable land in the country till July 8, a whopping 29.19 per cent less compared to the area covered by the same time last year. Paddy plantation was carried out on 52.95 per cent of arable land by July 8 last year.
This means that paddy plantation has been completed across merely 326,000 hectare land so far this year out of 1.37 million hectare arable land.
“The monsoon has not been favourable so far this year. As our agriculture industry, including the plantation of paddy, heavily relies on monsoon, plantation of the crop has been sluggish this year due to inadequate rainfall,” Ram Kumar Regmi, statistical officer at MoALD, told THT.
According to MoALD, almost 60 per cent paddy plantation in the country depends on monsoon rain while only 40 per cent plantation of the crop is carried out through irrigation.
Statistics show that paddy plantation has been carried out across 18.45 per cent of arable land in Province 1, 10.25 per cent in Province 2, 20.99 per cent in Province 3, 28.53 per cent in Gandaki Province, 29.51 per cent in Province 5, 51.42 per cent in Karnali Province and 44.41 per cent of arable land in Sudurpaschim Province.
|Comparative paddy plantation update|
|Till 8 July 2018||Till 8 July 2019|
In terms of geography, paddy plantation has been completed across 34.64 per cent of arable land in the high-hills, 31.15 per cent in mid-hills and 20.61 per cent of arable land in Tarai. Though MoALD is hopeful that the Tarai belt will start receiving rainfall soon and farmers will be able to plant paddy, the delayed monsoon is certain to hit paddy production this year.
Paddy, which is a staple crop, accounts for one-fifth of total agricultural gross domestic product of the country.
While the contribution of agriculture sector in the country’s GDP is around one-third, paddy accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total agriculture production.
Paddy production has been increasing in the country in recent years. However, the boost in production of paddy has not been able to substitute import of rice.
As per statistics of the government, the country imported rice worth Rs 27.89 billion in the first 10 months of the ongoing fiscal. However, the country had imported rice worth Rs 24.1 billion during the same period in fiscal 2017-18 which shows that import of rice has been on the rise despite the increasing production of paddy.
A version of this article appears in print on July 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.