Contribution of farming to GDP growth to drop

- SANGAM PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Jun 8, 2015-

The contribution of agriculture to the growth of this fiscal year’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been revised downward to 1.87 percent from 2.25 percent before earthquake, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said on Monday. 

The outlook for next year is even bleaker amid weak monsoon forecasts. Agriculture is the major contributor to Nepal’s economy and is mainly rain-fed.

The CBS said that the figure had been revised following the terrible earthquake that has severely hit the farm sector, particularly livestock. It said that the death of livestock could affect the country’s meat and milk supply. 

This year, the forestry and agriculture sector is projected to grow 1.79 percent against the 2.17 percent projected earlier. 

According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the devastating April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have caused more than Rs10 billion in losses to the agricultural sector of the 14 affected districts. 

The Agricultural Ministry has estimated that 18,000 head of cattle and 500,000 birds perished in the earthquake. Similarly, 40,000 small quadrupeds including goats, sheep and pigs were killed in the disaster. Livestock losses are estimated to amount to Rs1.47 billion.

Likewise, damage to winter crops like wheat and potato has also led to the revision of the GDP’s growth rate. The country’s overall cereal crop output is expected to drop 3 percent to 9.26 million tonnes this fiscal year. 

In 2011-12, paddy production rose an impressive 13.7 percent, and as a result, the farm sector’s growth rate swelled to 4.63 percent. 

However, in 2012-13, the paddy output dropped 11.3 percent and the economic growth rate slumped to a six-year low of 3.5 percent, the lowest since 2006-07. The agricultural sector grew a meagre 1.1 percent in 2012-13.

However, the fishery sector has been less affected. It is expected to grow 6.31 percent this fiscal year, a slight drop from the 6.32 percent projected earlier. 

“As the country could face a shortage of farm manpower, paddy planting during this monsoon is also likely to be hit,” said Swarnim Wagle, a member of the National Planning Commission. 

A delayed and weak monsoon this year is likely to hit a broad range of summer crops, especially paddy and grain along with maize and seasonal vegetables, the weatherman said.

The Meteorological Forecasting Division has predicted that this year’s monsoon will be delayed by almost a week. 

The rains usually start around June 10 from the eastern part and spread throughout the country within a week.

The south-western summer monsoon that occurs in many parts of the South Asian region, including India and Nepal, is predicted to be “below average” this year. 

The sixth version of the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum, an annual meet of weather experts, scientists and meteorologists to forecast the South Asian monsoon, has predicted “below normal” to “deficient” rainfall in many parts of the region including Nepal. 

Published: 09-06-2015 08:35

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