The country had to import rice worth Rs 23 billion last year even though a surplus of 789,702 tons of food grains was produced in the last year owing to favorable weather. A study has showed that there was shortage of 587,830 tons of rice in the last year due to the rise in trend of eating rice.
Rice worth around Rs 13 billion was imported in the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2070/71, according to government data. But the amount rises to around Rs 23.50 billion even while keeping the average price of the deficit amount at Rs 40 per kilogram. Though production of food grains increased by 9.43 percent in the last year, 33 districts across the country could not produce enough to meet internal needs.
Only 280,816 tons of rice could be produced from the total paddy yield even though the country needs 339,599 tons a year to feed around 27.83 million Nepalis, according to the Nepal Food Security Monitoring Systems (NeKSAP) operated with assistance of the ministry, World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The remaining amount is supplied by importing from India. There were surplus of around one million tons of wheat and around 400,000 tons, according to NeKSAP. Around Rs 25 billion had gone abroad in import of rice in the fiscal year 2069/70 when there was fall in production of paddy. There was shortage of around 900,000 tons of rice that year.
“We seem to have surplus of food grains overall every year but have to import rice due to the rising consumption of rice,” Spokesperson at the Ministry of Agriculture Development Tanka Prasad Luitel says. “This shortage is due to the habit of eating rice. We can prevent flight of capital abroad if we change our food habits,” he states. He projects a fall in paddy production in the current year due to adverse weather conditions even though the government has prioritized paddy production.
Per capital consumption of food grains is 190 kilograms a year, according to NeKSAP. Per capita consumption of rice alone is 122 kilograms. It is 46.60 kilograms for maize, 17 kilograms for wheat, nine kilograms for buckwheat, 370 grams for barley and 290 grams for millet. There is also a deficit of 1,032 tons of buckwheat and 619 tons of barley.
|Food||Per capita annual consumption (in kg)||Requirement (in tons)||Availability(in tons)||Surplus/deficit(in tons)|
Taken from: Karobardaily