In the latest update on Nepal’s paddy farming, the nation has recorded the best paddy production of 5 .6 million tons this fiscal year 2018-19.
Nevertheless, Nepal’s rice import continues to be steadily on the rise, despite bumper paddy manufacturing throughout the last three years.
The nation imported rice worth NPR 278 million within the first 10 months of the present fiscal compared to NPR 241 in FY 2017-18. Similarly, in 2016-17 Nepal’s rice imports were worth NPR 202 million.
Based on Nepal Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) Ministry, the changing behavior of consumers was responsible for improving rice imports in the country. Most Nepalis prefer white rice or refined rice imported from India.
Despite the country’s capability to meet the rising demand, consumers’ varying taste have forced Nepal to import rice said MoALD.
Based on MoALD, Nepal’s current market demand for rice stands at around 4 million tons at the moment and its local production meets only close to 3 .4 million tons.
This present fiscal 2018-19, Nepal registered a paddy/rice increase by 9 .8 percent compared to 5.1 million tons in the last fiscal.
Likewise, the country’s paddy productivity reached 3 .8 tons per hectare in the current fiscal, an increase of 8 .6 percent compared to FY 2017-18.
The International Rice Research Institute – Nepal’s (IRRI-Nepal) five-year work plan together with a few other places and programs are responsible for the success of Nepal’s increased paddy productivity, said MoALD Spokesperson Tej Bahadur Subedi.
However, increased productivity and production have not been able to override Nepal’s increasing rice imports.
This is a matter of issue as rice contributes to 20 percent of Nepal’s agriculture sector, which has a 27 percent in Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the meantime on June 30, 2019, Nepal marked the starting of the crop plantation season with Ropain – the rice planting festival.