Nepal set to fall short of farm production target

- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu

Dec 27, 2018-

Nepal is set to fall short of the production target for most agricultural products for 2018-19 as laid out in the 14th Plan despite a record paddy harvest. According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the underperformance is due to the government’s failure to implement farm mechanisation.

The country is likely to achieve the production target for paddy, corn and vegetables. But the output of other major products such as potato, wheat, fruit, legume, meat, egg, milk and fish will fall below target.

As per the ministry’s statistics, the paddy harvest is expected to hit a record high of 5.61 million tonnes this fiscal year, surpassing the government target of 5.56 million tonnes. Similarly, the production of corn stood at 2.64 million tonnes against the target of 2.69 million tonnes in the first six months of the current fiscal year. According to the ministry, the target will be achieved by the end of the harvesting season this year. 

Nepal produced 4.1 million tonnes of vegetables against the target of 4 million tonnes. Agriculture Secretary Yubak Dhoj GC said increased use of capital equipment resulted in higher production. “In addition, adequate and timely rainfall along with the timely availability of fertilisers, use of improved seeds and crop disease control helped to exceed the target,” GC said.

According to GC, an estimated 6.1 million tonnes of paddy is needed to meet the country’s annual requirement. The Mota Dhan variety accounts for 70-80 percent of the paddy grown in the country, GC said. 

“However, growing preference for long grain rice among the people has led to increasing dependence on imported rice,” he added. 

The country will fall short of the production target for other farm products. The ministry’s statistics show that wheat production stood at 1.94 million tonnes against the target of 2.21 million tonnes. The country will also miss the target for potato production this year. According to the ministry, the country produced 3.08 million tonnes of potato, falling below the goal of 3.25 million tonnes. 

The production of pulses will also fall short of the target of 438,000 tonnes. Output till date totals 369,000 tonnes. According to the ministry, the country will miss the target of meat production by 70,000 tonnes, milk by 509,000 tonnes and fish by 12,870 tonnes. 

The government had announced that self-sufficiency in milk and meat production would be achieved by the end of fiscal 2018-19. Considering the latest statistics, the government’s commitment to check the country’s ever widening trade deficit by boosting farm production will likely not be fulfilled, analysts said.

Published: 27-12-2018 06:53

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