Officials hopeful of bumper harvest in FY 2017/18 despite Tarai floods.
KATHMANDU, Oct 16: The government has projected paddy production to grow by 2 million to a record high of 5.4 million tons in the current fiscal year despite massive floods in country's southern plains in the paddy transplantation season.
Paddy production was expected drop sharply in the current fiscal year in the aftermath of massive floods in eastern and central Tarai districts in the second week of August. However, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) has said that paddy production has not been affected by the floods.
Earlier, the ministry had said that the floods have affected paddy crop in 198,698 hectare of land. However, the ministry has said that the target of 5.4 million tons of paddy production is now gettable. This also indicates that economic growth target of 7.2 percent for Fiscal Year 2017/18 is achievable, MoAD officials say.
Yogendra Karki, the spokesperson for the MoAD, said that effects of floods in crops like paddy are very minimal. “Therefore the paddy production target that we had set in June can be achieved,” he said, adding: “We are now targeting production of 5.5 million tons. We are confident that total production figure will not go below 5.4 million tons.”
Earlier in June, the government had projected paddy production to grow to 5.4 million tons in the current fiscal year.
Agriculture sector contributes about one-third of the country's total GDP. Paddy alone has a share of 20 percent in total agricultural output.
Last week, Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi had said that the government was hopeful of achieving the targeted economic growth in FY 2017/18. “Earlier, we thought that floods will affect paddy group. But we were wrong. The alluvial soil brought by the floods in the paddy farm is likely to boost production growth according to a report of the MoAD,” added Subedi.
He had also criticized development partners like Asian Development Board, World Bank for downward revision of growth forecast to around 5 percent citing damages to agricultural sector by the floods.
“The reality is different. We are now confident of achieving the 7.2 percent economic growth target. However, it is still below the 7.5 percent annual growth that we need to graduate to Middle Income Country by 2030,” Subedi said last week.