Nepal had enjoyed the food surplus of over 400,000 tons in fiscal year 2012/13 but still the rice import fom india had doubled in FY 2012-13

The Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) had estimated drop in cereal production by 7.6 percent to 8.74 million tons compared to last year´s total output in Nepal.

Prabhakar Pathak, spokesperson for the MoAD told that the country technically seems at food surplus condition for rice but the increasing demand shows that the country needed more rice. However in case of wheat and maize the country enjoyed food surplus.

According to Pathak, Nepal faces deficit of 900,000 tons of rice even though it has 262,000 tons and 1.05 million tons of rice and wheat, respectively, in surplus.

Out of total per capita food consumption of 191 kg, rice covers more than 122 kg, followed by maize (41 kg), wheat (17 kg), millet (9 kg) and other foods (2 percent).

According to MoAD estimates, total requirement of food for people across the country stands at 5.24 million tons a year.“Surplus in overall cereal crops cant contain imports of rice in the country,” said Pathak.

Rice expert Bhola Man Singh Basnet said that the country consumption of rice is more than that calculated for per capita and since we have to import rice into the country so the per capita amount of 191 Kg must be wrong.

Total production of paddy, wheat, maize, millet, barley and buckwheat combined reached 8.74 million tons this year, down from 9.46 million tons recorded last year.

Production of paddy, which makes up 52 percent of the total crop production, dropped by 11.3 percent to 4.50 million tons, thanks to drop in plantation area by about 110,000 hectares. Similarly, production of maize, which makes up for 23 percent of the total crop production, declined by 8.3 percent to 1.99 million tons.

The MoAD had recently put eight more districts, including five in Tarai, in the list of food deficit districts. Saptari, Siraha, Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat in Tarai, which are among the key producers of paddy, joined the list of food deficit districts this year. Similarly three hilly districts — Udayapur, Panchathar and Kaski – entered the list for the first time. With this, the number of districts with food deficit has reached 33 compared to 27 of 2011/12