January 13: The government has estimated an increase in paddy production in the current fiscal year. However, the paddy produced this year is found to be of low quality due to which less quantity of rice has been yielded after processing the paddy.
The production of rice has declined due to low quality of paddy. Stakeholders have attributed this to non-availability of seeds and fertilizer during planting season. The cost of production has gone up and so has the selling price of rice.
Agriculture experts believe that the lack of fertilizer during the plantation season might be the reason behind low quality of paddy.
The low standard of paddy will have direct impact on production of rice. According to Subodh Kumar Gupta, chairman of Nepal Rice, Oil and Lentil Industry Association, the production of per quintal of rice has gone down due to the low quality of paddy.
Normally, 45 percent of rice is produced from one quintal of paddy while 15 percent is fragments of rice and the remaining by product is husk. But this year, only 35 percent of rice has been produced from one quintal of rice, says Gupta. Likewise, the percentage of rice fragments has increased by 10 percent to a total of 25 percent. This in turn has resulted in increased cost of production and an increase in price of rice.
“This is the main reason for the increase in price of rice,” said Gupta.
Central member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Avinash Bohora also shares a similar view. Bohora also claimed that the standard of paddy has degraded this year due to which production of rice has declined while more amount of rice fragments have been produced.
According to the information provided by Nepal Retailers’ Association, the price of rice produced by every brand has increased by Rs 50 per sack.
Factories and industries have just received newly harvested paddy. The price of rice normally does not get hiked during harvesting season. However, industrialists say that they have been forced to increase the price of rice due to low quality or paddy produced this year.
The local mills and industries have been producing 60 percent of the annual requirement of rice for the country while they produce 62 percent of lentil and 35 percent of edible oil.
Chairman of the association Naresh Rathi says that the international market also has some influence in the price hike in Nepal. According to him, Bangladesh has lowered the customs duty for importing rice. As a result, India has increased its export to Bangladesh while the export of rice to Nepal has declined. This has also contributed to price hike, says Rathi.