Bumper paddy crop expected this yearNepal looks set to harvest a bumper paddy crop this year because of sufficient rainfall and timely transplantation. Agriculture Ministry officials said that paddy transplantation has been completed on almost all available paddy fields.
Nepal looks set to harvest a bumper paddy crop this year because of sufficient rainfall and timely transplantation. Agriculture Ministry officials said that paddy transplantation has been completed on almost all available paddy fields.
This year, paddy has been planted on 1.55 million hectares of land. “The overall paddy production this year is going to be good,” said Tej Bahadur Subedi, spokesperson for the ministry. There are two reasons for this. The first is the monsoon rains, which were well distributed. Secondly, there are no reports on floods and shortage of chemical fertilisers. This year, except in a few places, there was no shortage of the vital farm input, he said.
Subedi said that 30,000 tonnes of chemical fertilisers would be arriving in Nepal within the next 10 days. Out of this consignment, around 20,000 tonnes will be distributed to farmers as they are preparing for top dressing—the growth cycle of the paddy plants when urea should be applied to the field to maximise production.
He said that the first dressing of paddy crop normally begins three to four weeks after transplantation.
Timely transplantation, along with sufficient rainwater and proper use of fertiliser, are essential for improving plant growth. Officials are expecting a record harvest this year. “However, it’s too early to estimate the amount of paddy the country will produce this year. We have to wait until the first week of October for a preliminary projection of the paddy output,” said Subedi.
The consensus statement from the 12th session of the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (Sascof) said that most of South Asia, including Nepal, would receive normal rainfall during the monsoon, which extends from June to September. Nepal’s monsoon irrigates more than half of the country’s farmland.
The Tarai, which is the major paddy producing region in the country, contains 71 percent of the rice fields. The hilly region contains 25 percent, and the mountain region four percent. This year, the monsoon entered Nepal on June 8, two days before the normal onset date. The summer paddy output dropped 1.5 percent to 5.1 million tonnes in the last fiscal year due to floods.
Nepal Rastra Bank said in its macroeconomic report that the favourable monsoon indicated a good summer harvest this year. With the turnaround in paddy production from a negative growth of 1.5 percent in 2017-18, a pickup in agricultural growth in 2018-19 is likely to underpin the sustained rebound in overall GDP growth seen in the last two years, it said.
In the previous fiscal year 2016-17, the country recorded its largest paddy production in history with a 21.66 percent jump to 5.23 million tonnes. That year, the country achieved a 23-year-high economic growth rate of 7.39 percent on the back of a good monsoon that boosted agricultural output. Nepal’s farm sector registered a nine-year-high growth rate of 5.32 percent.