June 29: Despite its failure to provide chemical fertilizers to farmers on time, the government on Wednesday observed the National Paddy Day with the slogan of paddy import substitution by increasing production within the country.
The government marked the 19th National Paddy Day on June 29 this year. This day is observed every year on the 15th day of the third month of the Nepali calendar.
This year, the 19th National Paddy Day and Plantation Festival, 2079 is being celebrated under the slogan 'Utilization of Biodiversity in Paddy Crops, Support to Import Substitution'.
The government had announced import substitution of 30 percent while unveiling the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The government has adopted the same policy in agriculture, e specially paddy.
However popular the slogan might be, the government has not been able to supply fertilizer to the farmers during the peak season of planting paddy. The farmers are forced to begin planting paddy amid scarcity of fertilizer. They have used potassium in some places due to lack of urea while others have used manure prepared from cow dung.
Stakeholders say that it is not appropriate for the government to celebrate the National Paddy Day with the slogan of import substitution when the farmers across the country are facing acute shortage of fertilizers.