KATHMANDU, July 4: Paddy plantation has been completed in 50 percent of paddy fields in 14 districts. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives, paddy plantation has been completed in half of the paddy fields in Kaski, Dolpa, Humla, Jajarkot, Salyan, Rolpa, Rukum, Pyuthan, Bajhang, Doti, Solukhumbu, Bhojpur, Kathmandu and Kanchanpur.
Similarly, two districts -- Dolakha and Mugu -- have reported plantation in more than 50 percent of paddy fields, while other districts have yet to reach the halfway mark.
Paddy plantation has been completed in 342,631 hectares, or 20 percent, out of 1.5 million hectares of arable land suitable for paddy farming so far, according to a report unveiled by the ministry on Tuesday.
According to the report, paddy plantation has been completed in 38.21 percent of the rice fields in hilly region, and 29.09 percent in the mid-hills. Paddy plantation in tarai region, the granary of the country, has been completed in only 18.65 percent of the rice fields so far.
Around 70 percent of the rice fields in the country falls in tarai region. In the same period last year, paddy plantation was completed in 15.70 percent of the rice fields in tarai region. Similarly, paddy plantation was completed in 38.17 percent of the rice fields in the mid-hills and 34.60 percent in high-hilly region at the same time last year.
Talking to Republica, Mani Ratna Aryal, an information officer for the ministry said, that paddy plantation in hilly region has been affected by erratic rainfall this year. “By this time, paddy plantation should have achieved the halfway mark in the hilly districts. But it is not happening,” Aryal said, adding: “Heavy rainfall in the past two days will help farmers in tarai. Paddy plantation in tarai districts will gain momentum this week.”
According to the report, paddy plantation has been completed in 72,190 hectares of paddy fields in eastern region, 51,213 hectares in central region and 77,636 hectares in western development region. The report further states that mid-western and far-western regions have reported completion of paddy plantation in 52,937 hectares and 64,948 hectares, respectively.
The ministry expects paddy plantation to be completed by the end of July, according to Aryal. Agriculture sector contributes 29 percent of the country’s GDP, and the contribution of paddy to agriculture GDP is around 20 percent.
While the government has set a target of doubling agro production within five years, the country is still struggling to become self-sufficient in rice. In 2017, Nepal imported paddy and rice worth Rs 25.7 billion despite growing 5.2 million tons of paddy.