KATHMANDU, July 8: Lack of sufficient rainfall takes toll on paddy cultivation as transplantation has been completed on only around 15% of paddy fields across the country, according to Department of Agriculture (DoA).
Data compiled by the department shows transplantation has been done on 14.71% of cultivable land as of June 30.
Paddy transplantation figure this season is almost five percentage points down compared to corresponding period of last year. Transplantation was completed on 19.53% of fields till June 30 last year, according to an official of the department.
Of the 1.42 million hectares of paddy fields across the country, transplantation has been completed on 208,882 hectares as of June 30,” Mahadev Prasad Poudel, a senior agriculture economist at the department told Republica.
According to the department, transplantation has been completed on 26.28% of paddy fields in high hilly areas, 20.73% in hilly areas and 11.83% in Tarai districts. Province-wise breakdown shows Karnali Province has the highest transplantation rate (32.90%), while Province 2 has the lowest with transplantation completed on only 6.94% of paddy fields Similarly, Province 1, Province 3, Gandaki Province, Province 5 and Sudurpashchim Province has completed transplantation on
17.43%, 8.11%, 21.84%, 13.95% and 26.35% of paddy fields, respectively.
“As monsoon has entered the country, transplantation is going on across the country in full swing. But we have not received fresh data from our field offices yet," Poudel added. "We will get updated data on Tuesday."
According to Paudel, paddy transplantation is almost completed on paddy fields that have irrigation facilities. "Farmers, who are dependent on monsoon rains for farming, however, are yet to transplant paddy this season," he added.
Nepal's paddy production capacity is 5.61 million tons, according to the department. However, officials like Paudel say that the country might see a decline in paddy production this season owing to delayed monsoon.
Average paddy transplantation rate has remained 95 to 97 percent over the past few years. "There is little chance of achieving 100% transplantation this year as well due to lack of sufficient rainfall,” said Poudel.
Generally paddy transplantation across the country is completed by second week of August. But it can take another one week if monsoon is delayed,
Agriculture contributes about 27% to the country's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Paddy alone contributes 7% to the country's total GDP, while its contribution to agriculture GDP is 21%.