January 18: The production of rice has decreased due to the sudden rainfall that occurred across the country from October 17 to October 20. Stakeholders blame the unseasonal rainfall during harvesting season for the reduction in quantity of rice.
One quintal of clean and good paddy yields up to 52 kg of rice. However, due to the sudden rainfall this year, paddy planted in most of the districts were rotten.
Due to this, the quantity of rice in one quintal of paddy has decreased by up to 7 kg.
According to Naresh Rathi, vice-president of the Association of Nepalese Rice, Oil and Pulses Industry, if the paddy is good, up to 52 kg of rice and 10 kg of grains are produced from one quintal of paddy. However, now the quantity of rice fragments has increased to 17 kg and the quantity of husk has reached 38 kg.
He said that this would be a loss for the paddy farmers, rice industrialists and consumers. “Decline in the amount of rice in paddy also increases the production cost. Consumers are directly affected by this. The price of rice has not increased immediately but the price might go up later,” he said.
Rice industries operating at less than 50 percent capacity
At present, the rice industries are operating at less than 50 percent of their production capacity. According to the association, traders are now importing less amount of paddy and more amount of rice from the Indian market.
Rathi said that Nepali rice industries have not been able to fully utilize their production capacity due to high import of rice from India.
Since rice produced in Nepal cannot meet the domestic demand, it has to be imported from India. However, Rathi is of the view that the Nepali rice industries would continue production if they could import more paddy than rice and this would help in creating employment in the country. He said that the government should encourage domestic industries to import paddy rather than rice.
The food industries operating in Nepal produce 60 percent of rice, 62 percent pulses and 35 percent oil that is required annually in the country.