November 26: Madhes Province, which is known as the ‘food basket’ of Nepal, is grappling with food insecurity, especially within the farming families that grow food in the southern plains of the country.
According to the National Agriculture Census 2021, around 43 percent of farmers’ households in Madhesh Province are unable to meet their food requirement throughout the year.
The data released by the National Statistics Office recently shows that, 317,486 farmers’ households out of 738,340 residing in Madhesh Province have been facing inadequacy of food supply to meet their requirement.
According to the census report, 63.8 percent of the total population of 6,114,600 population (1,156,715 households) living in Madhesh Province are farmers’ households.
Most of the farmers are scattered in eight districts of the province and they cultivate on 492,497 hectares of land. Among them, only 57 percent of farmers meet their annual requirement of food from the products they cultivate.
The data show that most of the farming families are involved in subsistence agriculture.
Paddy is cultivated on 384,553 hectares of land Madhes Province while 247,609 hectares of land is used to cultivate wheat and corn is produced in 33,719 hectares of land.
According to the census report, a total of 16.2 percent of farmers have taken loans for agriculture productions. Similarly, 3.7 percent have received government grants and 1.2 percent of farmers have purchased farm insurance policies.
Likewise, 64.7 percent of the farmers use tractors for cultivation, 20.8 percent use iron plows and 4.7 percent use power tillers.
In Madhes Province, 85.8 percent of the farmers are men and 14.2 percent are women, while 30.1 percent of the farming families are involved in other economic activities in addition to agricultural work.
Minister for Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives of the province, Gobinda Bahadur Neupane, says that the farmers are facing problems due to lack of irrigation facility, delay in supply of fertilizers, and unfair distribution of subsidies.