June 29, 2020 | Investopaper
As the government prepares to celebrate National Paddy Day on Monday, rice import has reached around Rs 31 billion in the first 11 months of this year. According to the customs department, 715,000 quintals of rice has been imported this year. Rice worth Rs 30.82 billion has been imported till Jestha 2077. Although the government has been saying that it will increase agricultural production by providing fertilizers, seeds, equipment and subsidies, no result has been seen.
In the previous year, rice worth about Rs 30 billion was imported. In the first 11 months of this year alone, rice worth Rs 1.82 billion has been imported. It is estimated that rice import will be around Rs 34 billion by the end of this year.
Paddy Productivity In Nepal
Paddy productivity is low in Nepal. Nepal has produced 3.8 tonnes of paddy per hectare this year. Paddy productivity has increased modestly in the last five years. The production per hectare was 3.15 tons in FY 073/74. Production has increased by only 0.65 tonnes per hectare in five years.
Although billions of rupees have been allocated annually to increase agricultural production, no results have been seen so far. Even now, farmers have used 47-year-old rice seeds. About 85 percent farmers are using old paddy. Farmers have not been able to get improved varieties of seeds even though the production will increase by 15-20 percent by using improved varieties of paddy seeds.
Due to lack of adequate irrigation system, paddy has to be planted in the floodplain. Paddy is being cultivated in an area of 1.491 million hectares across the country. Only 32 percent of the land is irrigated for 12 months. About 25 percent of the cultivable land is barren. Due to good rainy season, 5.6 million metric tonnes of paddy was produced. Paddy is cultivated in 48.3 percent of the total cultivable land in the country. The Terai region accounts for more than 70 percent of the area and production.
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