The Kathmandu Post, 27 July 2017
Paddy transplantation has been progressing at a better than expected rate across the country despite fluctuations between the active and weak spells of the monsoon, the Ministry of Agricultural Development said.
The current transplantation rate points to prospects for another good harvest, the ministry added.
According to the ministry’s statistics, paddy had been transplanted on 68.29 percent of 1.55 million hectares of available paddy fields as of Monday. In the same period last year, transplantation had been completed on 75 percent of the total cultivable land.
“We are slightly behind last year’s transplantation rate. However, it will not matter much,” said Shankar Sapkota, deputy spokesperson for the ministry. “At the current pace, we can achieve a transplantation rate of almost 98 percent this year.” As weathermen have forecast that the monsoon will become active after some days, transplantation is expected to be completed within a few weeks.
Transplantation normally extends until mid-August in the Tarai, the country’s grain basket. In some places, paddy is planted till September when farmers sow the seeds directly instead of transplanting saplings. The Tarai, which is the major paddy producing region in the country, contains 71 percent of its rice fields. The hilly region contains 25 percent and the mountain region 4 percent. This year, the monsoon entered Nepal on June 12, two days after the normal onset date. However, it was weak and only started to pick up pace from June-end allowing farmers to start transplanting paddy.
According to the ministry, the transplantation rate is higher in the Far Western Region with 98.58 percent of the total 176,560 hectares planted to paddy.
Likewise, the transplantation rate in the Mid-Western and Western regions has been recorded at 69.91 percent of the 178,096 hectares and 84.92 percent of the 312,547 hectares respectively.
The Central and Eastern regions, however, have seen a low transplantation rate. According to the ministry, the transplantation rate in the Central and Eastern regions has been recorded at 63.27 percent of the 439,328 hectares and 49.93 percent of 445,938 hectares.
Siraha in the Eastern Tarai region and Dhanusha in the Central Tarai region have seen slowed transplantation. The transplantation rate in these districts has been recorded at only 25 percent. “Except in these districts, transplantation in other areas has been progressing at a good rate,” said Sapkota.
The ministry’s statistics show that paddy transplantation in the mountain region has been completed on 74.16 percent of the 58,158 hectares while in the hilly region the rate is 79.23 percent of the 399,675 hectares.
In the Tarai, paddy transplantation has been completed on 63.98 percent of the 1.09 million hectares of paddy fields.