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Nepal aims to decrease rice import

Nepal celebrates 16th National Paddy Day on Sunday by planting paddy seedlings, the country, once known for exporting rice, has been importing it worth billions of rupees every year. The National Paddy Day, celebrated on Asar 15th of every Nepali year, marks the official beginning of the paddy plantation across the country.

Nepal is importing different varieties of rice, including masino (fine rice), worth Rs. 30 billion yearly. The import of rice could be reduced if Nepali masses would eat foods of different crops instead of their heavy dependence on rice as staple food, an official said.
The paddy is a major contributing factor for the country’s GDP with 20 per cent out of 27.5 per cent of total contribution of the agriculture sector to the GDP.

The adequate rainfall is a must for paddy plantation in Nepal as almost all land in the country depends on rainfall due to lack of irrigation facilities throughout the year, said Dr. Yubak Dhoj GC, secretary at the Ministry for Agriculture and Livestock Development.
The irrigation facility is available only in 25 per cent of land throughout the year and irrigation infrastructure was built only for 45 hectares land. Regular rainfall is a must to recharge water in various rivers and their tributaries that would facilitate irrigation system.
Nepal has been celebrating Asar 15th as the National Paddy Day since 2005. United Nations had declared the year 1966 as the Year of the Rice with the slogan ‘Freedom from hunger’, declaring rice as the ‘crop of the year’.The slogan of this year’s National Paddy Day is ‘Technology and mechanization in paddy production, reduction in rice import’, GC said.
On the day, planting seedlings, eating curd and beaten rice and singing songs are the main features of the National Paddy Day, which is observed as a day of celebration.
Secretary GC said that the Department of Agriculture and Nepal Agricultural Research Council would organised programmers to celebrate paddy plantation day in Khumaltar, Lalitpur Sunday morning.
Likewise, the various organisations will organised programmed to observe the day by planting paddy seedlings and singing a son in different districts. He said that the objective of observing the National Paddy Day is to increase productivity of paddy in the context of rising import of rice over the years due to increase its demand.

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