Paddy plantation rate declines due to poor rains

Kathmandu
Paddy plantation rate declines due to poor rains

Jul 22, 2014-

The monsoon rains which started pouring last week has cheered farmers in the eastern and western Tarai, but farmers in the flatlands of the Central, Mid-Western and Far Western regions have not been similarly thrilled.   

According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development, paddy transplantation in the eastern and western Tarai reached 50 percent and 66 percent of the total paddy fields respectively as of July 20. The transplantation in the Western Region was 49 percent during the same period last year, well above this year’s rate.

The ministry said that transplantation in the Far Western, Central and Mid-Western regions reached 32 percent, 39 percent and 42 percent respectively. In the same period last year, transplantation was completed on 70 percent, 44 percent and 47 percent of the fields in the Far Western, Central and Mid-Western regions respectively.   

The national average has been recorded at 51 percent as of July 20 against 64 percent in the same period last year. The transplantation rate, which was 23.2 percent of the country’s total 1.52 million hectares of paddy fields until July 6, rose to 51 percent as some of the key areas received good rains. Nepal’s rain-fed farmlands are largely dependent on the monsoon for cultivation.

Meanwhile, the average transplantation rate in the Tarai has been recorded at 47 percent. The Tarai contains 1.06 million hectares of paddy fields. Paddy transplantation in the mountain and hill regions has been recorded at 51 percent and 61 percent respectively.

The monsoon arrived in Nepal 10 days behind the normal date of June 10, and there has been a pause in rainfall across the country as of the first week of July.

According to the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD), rainfall in the month of June this year was below normal across the country. Of the total 16 meteorological stations updated under MFD, Okhaldhunga received highest rainfall, but was still 22 percent below the normal rainfall.

In July, most places witnessed rainfall ranging from scanty to heavy in some places. “Though the rainfall is not as heavy as expected during monsoon, brief thundershowers have been recorded throughout the country since the start of July,” said Shanti Kandel, a meteorologist at the MFD.  The country will still see rainfall activity (but not heavy downpours as witnessed last week) for the next two to three days, she said.

“As the rain distribution pattern has been mixed, paddy transplantation in some regions that received sufficient rains last week has picked up while it has been disappointing in other parts of the country,” said Hem Raj Regmi, chief statistician at the ministry.

The ministry’s statistics show that transplantation in Dang and Banke in the Mid-West, Kanchanpur and Kailali in the Far West and Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat in the Central Tarai has progressed very slowly.

Transplantation has been completed on 18.6 percent of the total 36,462 hectares of paddy fields in Banke. Likewise, the plantation rate in Kanchanpur is 23 percent of 46,655 hectares, Dang 24.6 percent of 38,300 hectares and Dhanusha 27 percent of 65,500 hectares. Likewise, transplantation in Mahottari and Sarlahi has been completed on 30 percent of the land.

Regmi said that transplantation in these districts slowed due to inadequate rains. In addition to a rain deficit, four Tarai districts-Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat- have been facing labour shortages.

Since the last few years, the Central Tarai districts have been suffering from a shortage of farm labour, and almost 20-25 percent of the paddy fields are left uncultivated every year.

Published: 23-07-2014 09:11

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