Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Over two dozen far west villages face food insecurity

Dolpa, Humla, Bajura, Bajhang, and Darchula districts are likely to experience a deteriorating food security situation, according to a report.
The twenty-five Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Dailekh and Rukum that are currently under Phase II require close monitoring as the situation might further deteriorate to Phase III — highly food insecure — said District Food Security Networks (DFSNs).
However, food security situation over the next quarter is expected to remain stable in most parts of the country except for the far western hills and mountains and Karnali, where seasonal deterioration is projected due to the depletion of household food stocks, and rise in food prices, it said, adding that recent harvest of summer crops coupled with incomes from high value commodities, remittances, and wage employment have contributed to seasonal improvement in household food security across the country.
Likewise, the food security situation has improved — during the months of October to December 2012 — significantly as compared to the previous quarter — July to September 2012 — and the situation is reportedly stable overall, according to the Nepal Khadya Surakshya Anugaman Pranali (NeKSAP) DFSNs of 72 districts across the country.
"Exceptions were found in 25 VDCs, mostly in Rukum and Dailekh districts, where pocket areas have been classified as 'moderately food insecure under Phase-II'," it said, attributing the failure in maize crop production coupled with limited employment opportunities for the deterioration of food security situation.
For the rest of the country, the food security situation has improved due to the summer crop harvest and increased availability of other income sources that has increased overall household income and purchasing power through sales of high value commodities and a rise in wage rates.
The report stated good sales of high value crops like citrus, ginger, honey, large cardamom, and dairy products in the hills, whereas sugarcane, fish, nuts, and banana in Tarai, and apple and Non-Timber Forest Products like Jatamasi, Katuki, Sugandhawal in the mountains have contributed to an increase in household income.
According to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), wage rate index has increased by 29 per cent as compared to the same period last year.
Despite the overall seasonal improvement in the food security situation, a significant number of the population, equivalent to a quarter of rural households, reportedly consume an inadequate diet, it added.
Dalits, wage labourers and households in the mountain region have a higher incidence of inadequate food consumption, the report said, adding that a joint crop verification mission of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, World Food Programme (WFP), and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), reported that the production of main summer crops of paddy, maize and millet has declined by 11.3 per cent, 8.3 per cent and three per cent, respectively as compared to last fiscal year 2011-12.
The total summer crop output for current fiscal year 2012-13 is estimated at 6.8 million metric tonnes (MT) — 4.5 million MT for paddy, two million MT for maize, and 0.3 million MT for millet.
The food security situation is expected to deteriorate in the far western hills and mountains especially in Karnali and in some VDCs of Rukum and Dailekh over the next quarter.

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