Wheat output likely to rise despite hailstorm

May 09, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, Shankar Acharya, 9th May 2017, Parsa

Wheat production is expected to increase in Parsa despite a hailstorm in March that hit standing crops.

According to the District Agriculture Development Office, the district is expected to see a wheat harvest of 78,000 tonnes this season.

Birendra Sinha, chief of the office, said that the average production per hectare stood at 2.4 tonnes. Wheat was cultivated on 32,500 hectares.

He added that the hailstorm had destroyed standing wheat crops on 4,000 hectares. “Had it not been for the hailstorm, output would have reached 3.6 tonnes of wheat per hectare,” Sinha said. “The production figure, however, is still good.”

The hailstorm also affected the production of pulses and mango. The district is likely to see a loss Rs10 million in agricultural produce.

Harvests in Sabaithawa, Pakaha Mainpur, Lahabrathakari, Bhedihari, Ghore, Tulsi Barba, Dhobini, Bhiswa and Banjari were affected significantly.

The office said that 95 percent of the wheat, pulses, maize and mango crops in Sabaithawa, Pakaha Mainpur, Lahabrathakari and Bhedihari were affected by the hailstorm. Likewise, Ghore, Tulsi Barba, Dhobini, Bhiswa and Banjari lost 70-80 percent of the crops. In Hariharpur, Mudli and Mirjapur, losses have been estimated at 50 percent.

Wheat is the second major crop cultivated in Parsa district. The cereal crop fetches a good market price, and more farmers have been attracted to growing it. The farm gate price of wheat is Rs2,900 per quintal in remote areas, and Rs3,000 in urban areas during the harvest season. Old stocks of wheat cost more.

Nepal’s wheat harvest is expected to increase marginally by 2.6 percent to 1.78 million tonnes in the current fiscal after a double-digit slump in the previous year, according to a report produced by Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Regional Agricultural Forecasting Toolbox (CRAFT) said that a water deficit had an impact on wheat growth this fiscal year too, followed by a severe winter drought in the last fiscal year.

The projected figure is a 4 percent decrease from the average production over the last five years (2011-12 to 2016-17). The forecast was made with a prediction uncertainty of plus-minus 11.5 percent, it said. Wheat is the third largest cereal crop in Nepal after rice and maize.