July 2: The 20th National Paddy Day was celebrated with great fanfare on Friday. The Government of Nepal has been celebrating the National Paddy Day every year since 2061 BS on the 15th day of the Nepali month of Asar (mid-June to mid-July).
Ironically, Nepal, an agricultural country, marks the National Paddy Day every year while the country imports rice produced in the USA, India, China, Korea, and Japan which is cooked in the kitchens of the citizens of Nepal.
According to the data of the Department of Customs, paddy/rice worth Rs 46 billion is imported in Nepal every year.
Nepal imported 724,574 metric tons of paddy and rice worth Rs 33.63 billion in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year. It includes 217,792 metric tons of rice worth Rs 14.72 billion and 560,781 metric tons of paddy worth Rs 18.9 billion.
In the review period, Nepal imported 2019 metric tons of rice worth Rs 193.6 million from the USA alone.
During the same period of last year, Nepal imported 1 million metric tons of paddy and rice worth Rs 45.29 billion from various countries. It included, 545,117 metric tons of paddy worth Rs 16.79 billion and 538,699 metric tons of rice worth Rs 28.40 billion.
In Nepal, paddy and rice are imported mainly from China, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Bhutan, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Oman, the United States of America, Vietnam, Namibia and other countries.
According to the National Statistics Office, the contribution of the agricultural sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nepal in the year 2021/22 was 23.9 percent. Out of which the contribution of paddy was 11.30 percent. In 2020/21, the contribution of rice to GDP was 12.64 percent.