KAILALI, April 21: Amid rising import of fine scented rice from India, Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture, and Cooperative of Sudur Paschim Province has endeavored to promote rice farming in the region by providing farmers with subsidy on seed and fertilizer, and improving irrigation facilities.
According to Yagya Raj Joshi, development officer at the ministry, the government decided to provide subsidy on seeds and fertilizers as a means to increasing local production and reducing rice imports.
“Farmers are being provided 75 percent grant on rice seeds along with grants on zinc sulfate, and assistance in crop conservation and crop insurance,” Joshi said. “By providing different types of subsidy, the government hopes to attract farmers towards rice farming.”
“We are also working to ensure that rice farmers get a reasonable return on their efforts,” Joshi stated.
The ministry is currently talking with food mills to ensure that farmers are provided a fair price for their produce. The ministry stated that it has aimed to expand fine rice farming to at least 200 hectare of land in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts.
According to Rabindra Bahadur Pradhan, secretary at the ministry, the latest efforts are targeted toward attracting more farmers to fine rice farming instead of coarse rice. The ministry has prioritized to increase production of local varieties of fine scented rice such as Samba Mansuli, Sabayaga Dhan, Sugandhit Dhan, and Chaite Dhan.
Joshi said that fine rice grow better than coarse rice in Kailali and Kanchanpur. There is no significant price gap between the two types. Coarse rice grows quicker than fine rice and is weightier so farmers tend to choose this type of rice.
“To encourage farmers to increase fine rice production, we are providing subsidy and requesting government to widen the gap in price,” Joshi said.
40 years back, Nepal used to export rice to India. However, in the last decade, the country has been compelled to import a huge amount of fine rice from India. Joshi said that farmers had a major role in making the country self-reliant in rice.
The ministry added that it has aimed at expanding rice farming in four hilly districts in Sudur Paschim Province besides Kailali and Kanchanpur. The ministry is to reserve 60 bigha of land in Doti for Jorayali Basmati rice, and 20 bigha each in Achham and Baitadi for Khumaltar rice.
The ministry has encouraged interested farmers, farmers’ groups, cooperatives, and industrialists to submit letters of intent to Agriculture Information Center’s liaison offices in Kanchanpur or Kailali, or directly to the ministry by April 28. As per a notice issued by the ministry, those groups or cooperatives interested in block production of rice will be given priority for subsidies and other facilities.