Addressing an interaction in Kathmandu today, deputy spokesperson for the Agriculture Development Ministry Shankhar Sapkota, said that the government has brought various programmes to become self-sufficient in paddy within three years.
"The government has set a target of producing 5.4 million tonnes of paddy in 2017-18 against the total 5.23 million tonnes of paddy produced in the current fiscal year," he said, addressing the interaction organised by Nepal Agriculture Journalists Academy on the occasion of 14th National Paddy Day tomorrow.
According to the Agricultural Development Ministry, the government has projected a growth of 3.25 per cent in the production of paddy in the next fiscal year.
Sapkota also said that the government has implemented different programmes in key districts to increase production of paddy. "We had launched different programmes in 20 districts in the fiscal year 2014-15," he said, adding that the government had also introduced different programmes for 15 Tarai districts in the fiscal year 2015-16. "The government will hand over these programmes to the local units from the new fiscal year."
The government has also started Prime Minister Agricultural Modernisation Project from last fiscal year to increase the productivity of the agriculture. Under the Prime Minister Agricultural Modernisation Project, the government has put self-sufficiency in paddy production in high priority. "The 10-year project is estimated to cost Rs 130 billion."
Likewise, the government is also planning to increase off-season paddy production in 50 districts to 300,000 hectares from existing 118,000 hectares.
The plantation area of paddy in the country is increasing slowly and the market is receiving improved seeds. Despite record high production, the country imported 359,000 tonnes of rice worth Rs 20 billion from countries including India, Italy, China, Thailand, South Korea and Japan in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC). "In fiscal year 2015-16, Nepal had imported 539,000 metric tonnes of rice worth Rs 22.80 billion."
Paddy plantation was done in 1.5 million hectares land – 50 per cent of cultivable land in the country – in the current fiscal year. "Nearly 70 per cent of paddy is produced in Tarai districts, and remaining 30 per cent in hilly districts," according to the ministry.
Also speaking, on the occasion, chief of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Bhaba Tripathi said that the institute was developing different paddy varieties that can cope with extreme heat and submergence. "There already are different varieties of paddy that give high yields," he said, adding that the farmers are but yet to get hold of these varieties.
Agriculture sector contribute around one third to the gross domestic production (GDP).
Year Production (in metric tonnes)
2013-14 5.04 million
2014-15 4.8 million
2015-16 4.3 million
2016-17 5.23 million
2017-18 5.4 million (Projected)