February 2: Government data shows that both the farming area and production of pre-monsoon paddy (Chaite dhaan) are on a downward trend. According to the data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, it has been found that the area under paddy cultivation and its production have been decreasing in recent years. This is the result of lack of irrigation. As a result, farmers’ attraction of towards paddy production is declining.
According to the ministry, in the fiscal year (FY) 2078/79, a total of 561,197 metric tons of paddy was produced in 120,042 hectares of land. In FY 2079/80, the production area decreased by 11,435 hectares to 108,607 hectares. This year, the production of pre-monsoon paddy also decreased by 20,866 metric tons to 540,331 tons.
President of the National Farmers' Commission, Prem Dangal said that the government is to blame for the decline in paddy production. According to him, if the support price of pre-monsoon paddy is fixe in time and the government also makes arrangements to buy it in time, in addition to ensuring fertilizer supply, seed and irrigation facilities, the farmers will show enthusiasm in production.
According to the data, the highest pre-monsoon paddy production was reported in Province 1, which produced 300,000 metric tons in 58,000 hectares of land. This is more than half of the total production. The data shows that Karnali province produces the least pre-monsoon paddy, about 850 metric tons in 191 hectares of land.
Prakash Kumar Sanjel, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development said that although the government sees good prospects for paddy production, the lack of irrigation is the main reason for the decrease in the interest of farmers. He said, “Regular irrigation is essential for paddy crops, but at the time of planting paddy, rainfall does not occur. Pre-monsoon paddy is cultivated only in those places where canals are available for irrigation.”
The period of pre-monsoon paddy (the time from planting to ripening) is also about 30 days longer than that of annual paddy, so there are many problems affecting the farmers. The minimum time for ripening of annual paddy is 120 days and the time for ripening of pre-monsoon paddy is 150 days. In addition to this, as moisture is high in pre-monsoon paddy, it needs a lot of time to dry. Farmers have to prepare for annual paddy as soon as they finish threshing paddy. Due to this, the farmers do not have time to dry the paddy.