Agriculture sector expands 4.7 percent

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Agriculture sector expands 4.7 percent

May 12, 2014-

Cereal output jumped 9.4 percent to 9.56 million tonnes during this fiscal year due to timely rains and an adequate supply of chemical fertilizers. The overall growth in cereal production has helped the agricultural sector to swell 4.72 percent this year. The agricultural sector grew 1.07 percent in the last fiscal year.

According to a preliminary estimate of the country’s agricultural production unveiled by the Ministry of Agriculture Develo-pment on Monday, the country produced an extra 824,000 tonnes of food grain this fiscal year.

Out of the total production, the output of summer crops-paddy, maize and buckwheat-is expected to jump 12 percent, 9.8 percent and 2.8 percent respectively. However, millet production is expected to drop 0.5 percent.

Winter crops-wheat and barley-have shown a poor performance. The output of wheat is estimated to grow a meagre 0.05 percent while barley is expected to drop 5.8 percent. The Central Bureau of Statistics has forecast an economic growth rate of 5.15 percent in the current fiscal year due to a healthy growth of the agriculture and forestry sector.

“Good rains along with the distribution of improved seeds, increased farm mechanization and adequate distribution of chemical fertilizers have helped the country to achieve a healthy growth,” said Tek Prasad Luitel, co-spokesperson at the ministry. Paddy occupies a 53 percent share in the total cereal output while the share of maize and wheat is 24 percent and 20 percent respectively.

According to the ministry, the implementation of improved varieties of paddy seeds like Sabatri, Bindeswori, Radha 4 and 12 in the Tarai region; Khumal 4, 10 and 11 in mid-hill region and Chandannath in the mountain region has helped paddy productivity to increase 7 percent.

These recommended varieties have a potential to yield double the harvest of local seeds, and around 90 percent of these varieties are applied by farmers.

The area under cereal production has increased 4.1 percent to 3.48 million hectares. Fewer natural disasters also contributed to the good harvest. This year, only 13,600 hectares of farmland were affected by natural disasters.

As farmers have been attracted towards commercial vegetable farming due to its higher returns, production has grown 5.2 percent to 3.47 million tonnes. Fruits production rose by a meagre 0.2 percent to 940,731 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the pulse sector has performed badly. The ministry’s statistics show that pulse production dropped 17.2 percent to 294,709 tonnes. “A sharp decline in lentil production has affected the overall output of pulses,” said Hem Raj Regmi, chief statistician of the ministry.

Lentil, which is one of Nepal’s highly demanded agro products in the global market, accounts for more than 60 percent of the total pulse crops. The oilseed crop has grown 1.1 percent to 185,412 tonnes.

Spice crops-ginger and chilli-are expected to grow 14.3 percent and 7.5 percent respectively.

However, among other spice crops, cardamom is expected to drop 9.8 percent, garlic 11.4 percent and turmeric 14.8 percent.

Tea and coffee output is expected to grow 2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.

The ministry said that the floriculture business amounted to around Rs 1 billion in this fiscal year.

Published: 13-05-2014 09:00

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