Karnali reeling under food shortage

Six districts out of 10 in the province are not able to meet the demand for food

Surkhet, February 15

Karnali Province faces shortage of 23,420 metric tonne of food annually.

According to data unveiled by the Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives recently, annual food requirement of the province stands at 350,998 metric tonne while total production is 327,578 metric tonne.

The province has 10 districts and among them, Rukum West, Salyan, Surkhet, and Dailekh are known as food-sufficient districts.

Annual production in Rukum is 47,908 metric tonne and it reserves 4,100 metric tonne after meeting internal demand.

Salyan has the highest food surplus weighing 13,996 metric tonne. The district’s annual production is 65,904 metric tonne while its requirement is 51,908 metric tonne.

Surkhet has the surplus of 1,074 metric tonne after meeting the requirement of 77,660 metric tonne.

Food surplus is nil in Dailekh as the requirement and availability is equal.

According to Secretary at the ministry Rajendra Prasad Bhari, food production in Jajarkot, Dolpa, Humla, Kalikot, Mugu and Jumla is not sufficient to meet internal demand.

Kalikot witnesses 11,775 metric tonne food production annually against the demand of 29,739 metric tonne while Jajarkot faces food shortage of 2,097 metric tonne, Dolpa 2,787 metric tonne, Jumla 7030 metric tonne, Humla 8,273 metric tonne and Mugu 5,444 metric tonne.

“Annual food production in six districts under the province is insufficient to meet internal demand. As a result malnutrition is a common health issue among children in these districts,” he said.

According to the provincial Nutrition and Food Security Directory Committee, stunted growth among children below five years of age in the province is 54.5 per cent, wasting is 7.5 per cent and 35.5 per cent children face low weight problem.

Similarly, 35 per cent women of reproductive age group suffer from anemia.

Provincial Planning Commission Vice-chair Prof Punya Prasad Regmi said the fifth periodic plan has given priority to issues relating to food security.

Provincial government has been advised to implement multi-sectoral nutrition plan.

Regmi sees no alternative to extend irrigation facility for agricultural growth in the province.

At present only 15 per cent land in the province has irrigation coverage.

According to Regmi, preparations are on to implement multi sectoral nutrition plan in Surkhet and Salyan districts.