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Late monsoon delays paddy transplantation

- SANGAM PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Jul 7, 2017-Paddy transplantation has been slow across the country this year due to a late monsoon, and even after the rain clouds arrived, there was little precipitation for nearly two weeks.  

Transplantation had been completed on 21.41 percent of the 1.55 million hectares of paddy fields as of July 4, the Ministry of Agricultural Development said. During the same period last year, the transplantation rate was 36.75 percent of the total land available. Last year, paddy fields totalled 1.42 million hectares. The paddy acreage increased to 1.55 million hectares at the end of the transplantation season because farmers planted paddy on more land due to abundant rainfall.

This year, the monsoon entered Nepal on June 12, two days after the normal onset date. “However, it was weak and only started to pick up pace last week allowing farmers to start transplanting paddy,” said Shankar Sapkota, deputy spokesperson for the ministry. 

“Likewise, the second phase of local elections slightly affected farm work. Overall, we can say that transplantation is going well.” 

However, he added that the actual paddy acreage this year would be known after a week as farmers in the Tarai belt are rushing to transplant paddy as monsoon rains continued to lash rice fields across Nepal. “The transplantation rate has to reach 50 percent within a week to match last year’s figure,” said Sapkota.   

According to the ministry, the transplantation rate is higher in the Far Western Region with 55.64 percent of the total 176,560 hectares planted to paddy. 

Likewise, the transplantation rate in the Mid-Western and Western regions has been recorded at 32.23 percent of 178,096 hectares and 21.18 percent of 312,547 hectares respectively.

The plantation rate in the Central and Eastern regions has been recorded at 13.38 percent of 439,328 hectares and 11.60 percent of 445,938 hectares respectively. 

The Central Region has witnessed a low transplantation rate with Mahottari and Sarlahi districts both recording a transplantation rate of only 2 percent. Paddy is grown on 34,500 hectares in Mahottari and 49,650 hectares in Sarlahi. 

Dhanusha, Rautahat and Chitwan districts have also observed a low transplantation rate of 5 percent. The average transplantation rate in the Central Tarai is only 6.17 percent of 327,425 hectares of available paddy fields. 

According to the ministry, paddy transplantation in the Tarai has been completed on 15.70 percent of 1.09 million hectares. The transplantation season normally lasts until mid-August in the Tarai. 

The Tarai is the country’s major paddy producing region and 71 percent of the rice fields are located here. The hilly region contains 25 percent and the mountain region 4 percent. Transplantation in the mountain and hill regions has reached 38.17 percent and 34.60 percent respectively. 

Weathermen have forecast a normal monsoon, bringing hope for another good year for paddy production after recording an all-time high harvest this fiscal year. 

The government has targeted to increase paddy output to 5.4 million tonnes in the next fiscal year from this year’s record 5.23 million tonnes.

Nepal’s farm sector is expected to register a nine-year high growth rate of 5.32 percent this fiscal year ending mid-July after hitting rock bottom in the last fiscal year, the Economic Survey 2016-17 shows. 

The survey said that bumper paddy harvests and a growth in the production of other key food grains helped the sector to make a recovery. Nepal’s farm sector saw a negative growth of 0.19 percent for the first time in the last fiscal year due to summer and winter droughts.

Published: 07-07-2017 12:21

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