Cereal production expected to drop 3pc this fiscal

Cereal production expected to drop 3pc this fiscal

Summer crop production has not been good but bumper harvests of winter crops are expected to shore up the overall food output this year, the Ministry of Agricultural Development said on Tuesday.

The country’s overall cereal crop output is expected to drop 3 percent this year, a sharp drop from the projected figure.

A report released by the ministry showed that wheat production was expected to grow 5 percent to 1.97 million tonnes. Likewise, barley production is expected to increase 7 percent to 37,354 tonnes.

The ministry’s spokesperson Uday Chandra Thakur cited sufficient rainfall and snowfall for the expected rise in output. However, the April 25 earthquake has affected the productivity of wheat.

According to Thakur, the earthquake has affected winter crops and production is down 8 percent. The area under winter crop production dropped 7.6 percent, mainly in the 14 districts that have been hit the hardest by the tremors.

Paddy and maize output were largely affected this fiscal year due to a late monsoon and untimely rain. Paddy output dropped 5.1 percent to 4.78 million tonnes. The country produced 258,435 tonnes less paddy this fiscal year, compared to last year. Likewise, maize production dropped 6 percent to 2.14 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, millet production grew 1.5 percent to 308,000 tonnes and buckwheat output increased 5 percent from last year’s 10,870 tonnes. The land under maize production declined 5 percent to 46,000 hectares, the ministry said.

Likewise, flower, honey and mushroom output has been projected to be encouraging this year. “Youth targeted programmes have mainly contributed to the significant growth in the production of these farm products,” said Thakur.

The ministry has projected good growth in the production of cash crops like oil seeds, potato, sugarcane, jute, pulses, tea, fruits and vegetables and spices like garlic, chilli, cardamom, ginger and turmeric. However, tobacco production and the cultivated area are expected to drop this year.

Milk production is estimated to increase 1.5 percent this fiscal year. “It is due to an increase in productivity of milk cows,” said Thakur.

Meat production, however, is expected to fall. The earthquake has severely hit livestock and it could affect the country’s meat supply.

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

Cereal crops production

Crops 2013-14 2014-15 Change

(In tonnes) (In tonnes) (in%)

Paddy 5.04 million 4.78 million -5.1

Maize 2.28 million 2.14 million -6.0

Wheat 1.88 million 1.97 million 4.9

Millet 304,105 308,488 1.4

Barley 34,824 37,354 7.3

Buckwheat 10,335 10,870 MT 5.2

Total 9.56 million 9.26 million -3.1

(Source: Agricultural Ministry)

Taken from eKantipur