As quoted by the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), planting of Nepal rice crop in 2015-2016 is lagging by 3% over last year due to unfavorable monsoons. In addition, rice planting area also stood at around 1.487 million hectares as of August 24, 2015, which is 3% down from around 1.533 million hectares planted last year. The current acreage accounts for about 87% of the country’s total acreage only.
It has been reported that currently rice planting area in the High Hills region stood at around 61,620 hectares (about 91% of the total acreage in the region), area in the Mid Hills region stood at around 409,393 hectares (around 92% of total acreage in the region) while area in the Tarai region stood at around 1.015 million hectares (about 86% of the total acreage in the region). Largest decline in acreage in the Tarai region is raising concerns of low rice production as well as food insecurity in the country.
Although, the MoAD officials have assured that they are planning to install shallow tube wells in the five hard-hit districts of Tarai to speed up the planting process. However, normally planting operations are concluded by the end of August. Further, it was informed that only 30% of the total cultivation area is covered with irrigation facilities. Due to lack of adequate irrigation facilities, is one of the major challenges for Nepal’s rice sector.
As per sources, paddy contributes to 20% to the total agricultural production in Nepal which is about 7% of the country’s GDP. According to the data, paddy production in 2014-15 declined about 5.71% to around 4.78 million tons from around 5.04 million tons in 2013-14 mainly due to late monsoon and untimely rainfall.