KATHMANDU, May 15: The overall production of major crops, such as paddy, maize and wheat, has gone up this fiscal year, despite the inability of the government to distribute adequate chemical fertilizers and seeds of cereal crops to farmers in time.
According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC), the total production of major crops is estimated to go up by 9.8 percent and reach 9.45 million tons in the current fiscal year.
However, the total contribution of cereal crops in the agricultural gross domestic production (AGDP) will post a decline, as the weightage of horticulture in the AGDP basket has gone up to 38.16 percent in the current fiscal year, while contribution of cereal crops has fallen by 8.36 percentage points to 28 percent, Dr Hari Dahal, joint secretary of MoAC, told media persons on Tuesday.
Dr Dahal, acknowledging shortage of chemical fertilizers and seeds as primary factors that restricted cereal crops production, said: "The timely monsoon and favorable climate were the major reasons that contributed to the growth." This was achieved despite fuel and electricity shortage faced by farmers in the Tarai region and adverse weather condition induced by factors such as hailstorms.
MoAC estimates show that paddy production will go up by 13.7 percent in the current fiscal year to reach 5.07 million tons. Similarly, the production of maize will also rise by 5.4 percent to hit 2.17 million tons. However, the maize production growth rate will be lower this fiscal year compared to that of last year when growth rate was recorded at 11.45 percent.
Production of wheat - seeds of which are distributed by the government - will also rise by 5.7 percent to reach 1.84 million tons. The wheat production growth rate is also expected to go down this year compared with that of last year´s 12.16 percent.
Despite the rise in agricultural output, the worrisome condition is that farmers have not been able to reap its benefit.
"The prices of crops and food also have not increased in proportion with the production output," Dr Dahal said, blaming "middlemen for not letting the benefit of higher agricultural production trickle down to farmers".