Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cereal crops lose out to high value cash crops

The country is going to witness production around Rs 248 billion worth vegetables, fruits and flowers in the current fiscal year pushing the cereal crops to the second position in the total contribution to the Agriculture Gross Domestic Production.
"Unlike the cereal crops' contribution in the total agriculture output earlier, horticulture — the high value cash crops including vegetables, fruits and floriculture — is projected to contribute more in the current fiscal year," according to spokesperson of Ministry of Agriculture Development Dr Hari Dahal. "The country is going to witness only Rs 185 billion worth cereal crops production against around Rs 248 billion worth horticulture production in the current fiscal year."
The country will also witness livestock production of around Rs 124 billion, he said, adding that the total contribution of the agriculture to the Gross Domestic Production is estimated to cross Rs 655 billion in the current fiscal year compared to Rs 449 billion in the last fiscal year.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has projected gross domestic production (GDP) to be at Rs 1558.17 billion for the current fiscal year. "The agriculture sector — the largest contributor to the GDP — contributes Rs 670.38 billion to the GDP, the national data centre said, adding that agriculture contributes 35.68 per cent to the total GDP.
"Due to change in the production trend, the cereal crops is fast losing to horticulture meaning the farmers are attracted towards high value cash crops instead of cereal crops," he added. "It has also contributed to the poverty reduction."
The cereal crops that has a contribution of 36.36 per cent to the Agriculture Gross Domestic Production (AGDP) is estimated to come down to 28.25 per cent, whereas horticulture that has a contribution of 16.7 per cent is going to contribute double to 37.84 per cent to the Agriculture Gross Domestic Production, according to the preliminary estimation of the ministry.
"Similarly, the contribution of livestock is going to come down to 19.04 per cent from current 25.68 per cent to the Agriculture Gross Domestic Production," Dahal added.
The vegetable production has increased by 6.2 per cent to 3.40 million metric tonne in the current fiscal year compared to last fiscal year's 3.20 million metric tonne. Similarly, the fruits production has also increased by 6.5 per cent to 885,521 metric tonne from last fiscal year's 725,000 metric tonne, whereas potato production has gone up by seven per cent to 2.68 million metric tonne from last fiscal year's 2.59 million metric tonne.
Despite lower contribution to the AGDP, the cereal crops is going to witness a record 9.4 million metric tonne production in the current fiscal year.
But the cereal crops production area has decreased, despite the increase in the total production. "Despite increase in production of cereal crops, the production area — of key cereal crops like wheat, maize and barley — has come down," Dahal said, adding that with increase in production of horticulture produces, the area of production has also increased compared to the last fiscal year.
However, the increase in production could not bring the vegetable prices down. "Lack of reliable market chain, information and monitoring the consumers are compelled to pay higher prices for vegetables and the farmers are also not getting the standard price for the agriculture produce," he said, adding that the middlemen are making huge buck in absence of effective market monitoring mechanism and market places. "It calls for Horticulture Development Board to better regulate and monitor the market."


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