August 17, 2017
Recent floods, which have been concerning various parts of Nepal since a week, have badly hit the country’s agricultural sector resulting in huge crop loss for the country.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) informed that floodwaters wiped out crops worth Rs 8.11 billion and inundated huge tracts of land across 31 districts (19 severely) of the country.
Put together the loss of livestock and damage of private food stores, officials project further loss amounting to billions.
“This is the first time that the entire country, except Kapilvastu, has been flooded at the same time,” said Rishi Ram Sharma, Director General of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.
Nepal is facing this situation at a time when the country’s agricultural economy is witnessing some signs of recovery since the last fiscal.
The World Bank had projected Nepal’s economic growth rate at 7.5 percent in the last fiscal year on the basis of rise in agricultural output due to a favorable monsoon, elimination of power cuts and higher government spending, among others.
However, the country’s agricultural sector takes a hit again with the recent floods. According to officials, impact of the recent floods would be high on farmer incomes & inflation and a fall in domestic production may also increase country’s agricultural imports (currently close to Rs 200 billion mark).
Government Hopeful About Paddy Output
Despite this weakening situation, MoAD bets big on paddy output. It projects paddy output at 5.4 million tonnes in the current fiscal year, above the record production of 5.2 million tonnes in the last fiscal year.
“The floods have shattered growth prospects. But we are confident that the paddy harvest will not be lower than last year’s level,” said Yogendra Kumar Karki, Ministry Spokesperson.
According to the Ministry, the recent floods damaged 270,406 hectares of standing crops of paddy, maize, pulses, banana and spices and wiped out fishes in 2,224 hectares.
Overall, paddy plantation suffered major damage worth Rs 3.18 billion, followed by vegetables (Rs 2.96 billion), fishes (Rs 800 million), pulses (Rs 536 million), turmeric (Rs 340 million) and maize (Rs 241 million).
MoAD projects the loss could be much higher with loss of food stored by people in their homes included.