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May 2024

Nepal’s Madhesh Province Records Steep Decline in Rice Production

Madhesh Province, renowned as Nepal’s ‘food storehouse,’ has experienced a significant decline in rice production this year. Records from the Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives of Madhesh Province indicate that rice production plummeted to 1,296,907 metric tons, a drop of 92,000 metric tons compared to last year’s harvest of 1,388,000 metric tons.

Delayed Monsoon and Drought Conditions

The central government has identified the late arrival of the monsoon season as the major factor for this reduction. This raises serious questions about the potential impact on Nepal’s food sovereignty and the greater implications for the country’s economy. While the total national rice production numbers are yet to be revealed, preliminary data from 8 districts in Madhesh province show that rice cultivation spanned an area of 370,350 hectares.

District-Wide Production Figures

Saptari District emerged as the leading rice producer in Madhesh, while Dhanusha reported the least production. Other districts that shared their production figures include Siraha, Bara, Parsa, Mahottari, Rautahat, and Sarlahi, each with diverse outputs. The decline in production has been attributed to drought conditions leading to the desiccation of seeds, which adversely impacted rice planting in some districts.

Implications for Nepal’s Food Sovereignty

The decrease in rice production in Madhesh Province, a pivotal agricultural hub, is a looming threat to Nepal’s food sovereignty. With a less bountiful harvest, the country may face food scarcity in the coming months, affecting both urban and rural populations. This situation could also lead to increased rice imports, thereby straining Nepal’s already fragile economy. As such, it becomes imperative for the government to devise strategies and implement measures that mitigate such agricultural losses in the future. QR Code

Published Date: December 23, 2023

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