Despite forecasts of a below average monsoon, paddy transplantation has been progressing faster than expected but not as well as in 2013, the Ministry of Agricultural Development said.
According to the ministry, paddy has been transplanted on 42 percent of the country’s 1.52 million hectares of rice fields as of July 13. In the same period last year, the transplantation rate was recorded at 38 percent due to a late monsoon and untimely rainfall. However, this year’s transplantation rate is slightly below the previous year’s rate of 45 percent rate when the country received good rainfall ultimately leading to a bumper harvest.
Ministry officials said that paddy transplantation had progressed at a faster rate in the Far Western Region and helped pull up the national average. Plantation has been completed on over 85 percent of the fields there.
Weathermen have issued flood and landslide warnings in the Tarai districts, especially in the Far Western Region and parts of the Mid-Western Region, due to heavy rains.
Meanwhile, paddy transplantation has been moving slowly in the Eastern and Central regions. As of mid-July, paddy transplantation was recorded at 32.5 percent and 32.2 percent respectively in the Eastern and Central regions. In the same period last year, paddy transplantation was recorded at 45.6 percent and 28.6 percent respectively. There are 470,665 hectares of paddy fields in the Eastern Region and 410,342 hectares in the Central Region.
Similarly, paddy has been transplanted on 43.7 percent of the 312,740 hectares of rice fields in the Western Region. The figure was 35.8 percent last year. The Mid-Western Region recorded a transplantation rate of 41.7 percent against 38.7 percent last year. There are 172,112 hectares of rice fields in the region.
Meanwhile, in the Tarai, which is celebrated as the country’s food basket, paddy transplantation reached 36.9 percent against 33.7 percent in the same period last year. The Tarai contains 1.06 million hectares of paddy fields. Paddy transplantation in the mountain and hill regions has been recorded at 61.6 percent and 49.4 percent respectively.
“Despite a poor monsoon forecast, the overall transplantation rate has been good so far,” said Hem Raj Regmi, chief statistician at the ministry. “The transplantation rate in the Far Western Region has been exceptional.” He said if it progressed at the same pace, the figure could reach more than 95 percent this year.
According to the ministry, Saptari and Siraha in the Eastern Tarai have recorded the lowest transplantation rate of 6 percent and 14 percent respectively. There are 60,000 hectares and 61,000 hectares of rice fields in the two districts. Banke in the Mid-Western Tarai with 36,462 hectares saw a transplantation rate of 15 percent. However, abundant rain allowed Kailali and Kanchanpur districts in the Far-Western Tarai to record the highest transplantation rate of 90 percent.
Since the arrival of the monsoon on June 13, most parts of the Far Western Region and some areas of the Mid-Western Region have recorded more than average rainfall. However, many places in the Eastern and Central regions saw below average rainfall in June and until July 13, according to the Meteorological Forecasting Division.
Nepal’s farmlands are largely depen-dent on the monsoon. Paddy production recorded a sharp 11.3 percent drop to 4.50 million tonnes in 2012-13 when the country suffered a drought with rainfall reaching 83.3 percent during the four key months.
TRANSPLANTATION AS OF JULY 13
REGION AREA (hectares) PLANTATION LAST YEAR
Eastern 470,665 32.5% 45.6%
Central 410,342 32.2% 28.6%
Western 312,740 43.7% 35.8%
Mid-Western 172,112 41.7% 38.7%
Far Western 160,492 85.8% 42.6%
Mountain 68,051 61.6% 45.8%
Hill 395,492 49.4% 47.7%
Tarai 1,067,950 36.9% 33.7%
Total 1,526,351 41.4% 38.0%